Reported first by the Financial Times, and then USA today, President Trump met with Russian President Putin for approximately 15 minutes without notetakers or aides during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November.
Putin and his interpreter sat with Trump and his wife in the Buenos Aires opera house at the end of an event there.
Previously, the White House stated that Trump and Melania “had a number of informal conversations with world leaders at the dinner” that night, “including President Putin.” Yet, it was reported that “people familiar with the conversation said it appeared longer and more substantive than the White House had acknowledged.”
An anonymous Russian government official told the Times that the two presidents spoke for about 15 minutes to figure out when they could meet formally. They also discussed the Syrian conflict and an incident in which Russia seized three Ukrainian navy vessels in the Black Sea.
Although Putin and Trump were scheduled for a meeting in Argentina, Trump cancelled, allegedly because of the Russian naval aggression. Putin reported that he told Trump his side of the story when they spoke at the summit.
The Washington Post found that Trump went to “extraordinary lengths” to keep details from his conversations with Putin private, including taking the notes from his meeting with Putin at the 2017 G20 Summit.
Reports of another secret Trump-Putin conversation has fueled the frenzy over Russian interference in the U.S.