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Trump Held Secret Meeting With Putin at G20

Trump Held Secret Meeting With Putin at G20

White House adds new addendum to correct the record, again. In addition to the previously disclosed official meeting between Russian dictator President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, the two engaged in a private off-the-record meeting during a scheduled dinner of world leaders. Besides Trump and Putin, the only witness was an interpreter provided by the Russian government.

This private meeting between the two heads of state was only disclosed two weeks later because of media reports. Reports that Trump continually refers to as "Fake News" despite the evidence being proven accurate. Thus far, the only 'fake' aspect of the Russian inquiry is the consistent denials from Trump and his administration. 

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the G20 Summit.
Credit:  Carlos Barria/Reuters

Trump and Putin's private dinner meeting was so out of balance from the norm that it perturbed other international leaders. According to a New York Times report, "The dinner discussion caught the attention of other leaders around the table, some of whom later remarked privately on the odd spectacle of an American president seeming to single out the Russian leader for special attention at a summit meeting that included some of the United States’ staunchest, oldest allies." In typical fashion for the unstable, political neophyte occupying the White House, Trump tweeted disapproval of media scrutiny over his secret meeting, stating: 

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!

Trump and his advisors have worked at hyper speed to withhold information from the public and find unique ways to criticize the press for exposing facts related to potential Russian collusion. Correct information is not 'fake news,' nor does it amount to a 'witch hunt.' The sooner Trump's staunchest supporters accept that reality, the sooner Trump will be held accountable for egregious international missteps like holding secret meetings with Russian dictators. 

Trump seemed to be intentionally ill-prepared to conduct this meeting considering he neglected to request a U.S. State Department translator accompany him. This neglect on Trump's part means there is no record of the conversation for the national security advisor or the Secretary of State. Additionally, by neglecting to bring a translator, it is unknown whether Putin's translator was accurate in representing both individuals respective messages. 

After the first tweet expressing his disapproval, Trump fired off another attack on the media, tweeting,

The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!

This deflection does not address the element of secrecy at the heart of this scandal. Why did Trump and his officials, assuming White House officials knew, keep this private meeting a secret? If it were unimportant, as Trump would have us believe, it would have been disclosed the day of. Simply claiming, 'people knew, thus it was no secret,' does not eliminate the fact that the meeting was never disclosed to the public for weeks. 

White House advisors should share the blame for Trump's incompetence. In a democratic society, government officials can only be held accountable by constituents. However, if constituents are indifferent to their officials obstructing justice or denying facts, or holding secret meetings with dictators, nothing will discourage that behavior from continuing. 

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