World leaders are gathering at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, amidst massive protests dubbed “Welcome to Hell.”
A mix of anti-Trump and anti-capitalist protestors took to the streets in Hamburg and the heated protests soon turned violent, with both protestors and law enforcement reporting injuries.
While chaos descended on the north German port city, the world’s most powerful politicians met to discuss a variety of topics from climate change to education.
Perhaps the most intriguing meeting (in a reality TV type of way) was between United States President Donald Trump (still weird to type) and Vladimir Putin of Russia.
With a consensus in the American intelligence community that the Russians actively attempted to influence the 2016 American election, Democratic members of congress had been calling on Trump to push Putin on the question of election meddling.
But after the meeting, signals appeared to be crossed over whether Trump indeed talked to Putin about election interference and to what extent.
Trump told reporters,
“President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s going very well. We look forward to a lot of very positive happenings for Russia and for the United States, and for everyone concerned.”
Nothing really to parse through there! But United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was more straight forward, claiming Russian election meddling was the first topic Trump raised in his meeting with Putin.
NEWS: Sec. Tillerson says President Trump *opened* his lengthy meeting with Putin by discussing Russian meddling in the 2016 election
— Monica Alba (@albamonica) July 7, 2017
Tillerson told reporters in an off camera session that Trump was direct with Putin while speaking of the election,
“The president opened the meeting raising the concerns of the American people about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. They had a very lengthy and robust conversation on this.”
The Secretary of State even claimed the two leaders reached a common understanding that interfering in another country’s election is very bad,
“The two leaders agreed this is of substantial hindrance. They agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the U.S. and our democratic process as well as other countries.”
Ok, fair enough. According to Tillerson, Trump followed through on pressing Putin.
Then Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, claimed that Trump “accepted” Putin’s statements that there was no foul play from the Russian government.
Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times Moscow bureau chief, reported Lavrov’s comments.
— Neil MacFarquhar (@NeilMacFarquhar) July 7, 2017
Then everything got a little weird.
Hallie Jackson, Chief White House Correspondent for NBC, reported that a Trump official claimed Lavrov’s comments about Trump’s acceptance was “not accurate.”
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) July 7, 2017
Hard to choose who to believe in this situation, Trump’s White House or Putin’s Kremlin, both administrations have a massive history of lying to, and disdaining, the press.
So let me get this straight:
1. Trump raised election meddling.
2. Putin denied.
3. They moved on to agreement areas.
Am I the only person?!
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) July 7, 2017
The whole thing seems rather sketchy, but not really at all surprising.
This story is obviously still developing, we’ll keep you covered with any further updates.