Those who say that US President Donald Trump violated a protocol by holding a "second" meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin seek to undermine Trump’s authority, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Wednsday.
US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had an hour-long private conversation in Hamburg, Germany, at the G20 summit that until now had not been revealed, the president of the international consulting firm Eurasia Group told the Hill.
While at a dinner table with G20 heads of states and their spouses, Trump got up from his seat to have a private talk with Putin. It is not clear what was discussed.
The same day, a White House official refuted the claims, saying that Trump and Putin did not have a second meeting in Hamburg, but had a brief conversation at the end of a formal dinner.
The official called the insinuation that the White House hiding the second meeting "false, malicious and absurd."
"Those who raise the issue like this seek to undermine president Trump’s authority, to create extra difficulties for him," Ryabkov said as broadcast by the Rossiya-1 television channel.
After the media reports have been released, Trump harshly slammed the coverage of his private talks with the Russian leader.
Putin and Trump met for the first time during the G20 summit in Germany's Hamburh on June 7. Putin said that he discussed at the first meeting with Trump the situation in Ukraine and Syria, the fight against terrorism and cybersecurity.
Instead of a scheduled one hour, the meeting ended after about 2 hours 20 minutes.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were also present at the talks.
Trump has been accused of "collusion" with Russia by political opponents seeking to de-legitimize his election victory.
Trump has denounced the accusations as a "witch hunt." Former FBI director Rob Mueller has been appointed as Special Counsel in the Justice Department to investigate alleged links between Trump and the Russian government.