US President Donald Trump met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for a second time during the G20 summit in Germany earlier this month.
The White House called the previously undisclosed meeting, a brief conversation at the end of dinner, and not a second meeting.
This new revelation has raised questions about Putin and Trump’s relationship.
The White House also said that only Putin’s translator was present when the two met as Trump’s translator did not know Russian. The brief chat, as White House put it, is said to have taken place at a dinner for G-20 leaders.
US media reported about Trump’s ‘secret meeting’ with Putin and only then did the White House issue a clarification.
Trump slammed media reports on twitter, calling them ‘fake news.’
“Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is “sick.” All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!….The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!” Trump lashed out in a series of tweets.
During the meal, Trump left his own seat to occupy a chair next to Putin. Trump approached alone, and Putin was attended only by his official interpreter, the Washington Post report said.
“The insinuation that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting…is false, malicious and absurd,” the White House clarified.
The relationship between Trump and Putin is under intense scrutiny amid allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the US presidential polls.
US intelligence believe Russia helped Trump in the presidential election, a charge denied by both Putin and Trump.
In the past, Trump has said that Putin would have preferred Hillary over him as the President of United States.
The dinner conversation with Putin was first reported on Monday by Ian Bremmer, president of the New York-based Eurasia Group, in a newsletter to group clients. The absence of American translator in the meeting was breach of national security protocol, he said.
(With inputs from agencies)