UPDATE 3 — 7/10, 11:13 a.m. EDT: In an interview Sunday on CNN, Ambassador Nikki Haley said President Trump told Vladimir Putin at their Friday G20 meeting that he knows Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.
“(Russia is) gonna always have two different stances on this,” she said. “But at the end of the day what was most important was for President Putin to hear from President Trump: ‘We know you did this. We didn’t like it. Don’t do it again.’”
UPDATE 2 — 7/9, 3:29 p.m. EDT: In a series of tweets upon his return to the U.S. from the G20 summit in Germany, President Trump said he “strongly pressed” Vladimir Putin twice about Kremlin interference in the 2016 election, which the Russian leader “vehemently denied”.
According to White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, “The president absolutely didn’t believe the denial of President Putin.”
Trump also said the pair did not discuss sanctions, as the issue will not be addressed “until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!”
“Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” Trump said.
UPDATE — 3:10 p.m. EDT: Addressing reporters questions Saturday about his meeting with Donald Trump on Friday, President Vladimir Putin admitted to having an extended conversation with the U.S. president about allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and said Trump accepted his denial of any wrongdoing.
“(Trump) asked questions, I replied. It seemed to me that he was satisfied with the answers,” he said.
Contradicting that characterization of Trump’s reaction to the Russian leader’s comments on suspected hacks of campaign emails and election systems, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the president “still knows that (the Kremlin) meddled. President Putin knows that they meddled, but he is never going to admit to it.”
Putin went on to praise Trump’s negotiating skills, saying his “TV persona differs sharply from the real man. He is a very straightforward person, grasps precisely what his interlocutor says, quickly analyzes and responds to questions or new elements of the discussion.”
In a much-anticipated event which eclipsed world leaders gathered in Hamburg, Germany, for the G20 summit, President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for the first time on Friday.
After briefly meeting early in the day, the pair met for a formal bilateral meeting which lasted longer than two hours. The matter of alleged Russian interference in the November 2016 election was discussed and described as a “robust and lengthy exchange” by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Regarded as a “hindrance” to improving relations between the two nations by Tillerson, Mr. Putin denied meddling in America’s presidential election.
After overcoming the biggest hurdle in the lead up to their private meeting, matters of pressing importance, Syria, Ukraine, international terrorism and cybersecurity were broached.
On Syria, the two came to an agreement for a partial ceasefire in the war-torn nation, although the meeting did not produce an agreement on the future of Syrian strongman, Bashar al-Assad.
The deal, which includes a “de-escalation agreement”, covers the southwestern region of Syria and will begin at noon local Damascus time on Sunday.
“President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s going very well. We’ve had some very, very good talks. . . . We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned. And it’s an honor to be with you,” Trump told reporters during a brief break in the meeting.
Although details associated to conversations on Ukraine and North Korea were not revealed, the discussions did yield approval to create a joint working group to prevent interference in one another’s elections.
Following the meeting’s conclusion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov contended President Trump had accepted Putin’s denial of election interference, a claim that CNN reported a senior White House official denied.
Giving his version of events, Secretary Tillerson said Trump “pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement” in the U.S. election.
[Reuters] [RT News] [CNN] [AP] [Politico]