Merkel Not Surprised by Putin-Trump Chat at G-20

Earlier Wednesday, a senior Russian lawmaker dismissed media reports about the meeting as sensationalist

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said the point of a dinner at the Group of 20 summit was to facilitate informal contacts, and the German leader wasn't "surprised or confused" by anything that happened.

The White House confirmed Tuesday that President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a second, previously undisclosed conversation at the summit in Hamburg on July 7, this one at an evening dinner following a concert.

A foreign affairs columnist who said he spoke with two people who were there said attendees described the meeting as startling.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert wouldn't comment Wednesday on specific conversations but said the dinner "did, exactly as hoped, produce a lively exchange" between many participants. He said "the chancellor, in any case, was not surprised or confused by anything."

Earlier Wednesday, a senior Russian lawmaker dismissed media reports about the meeting as sensationalist.

Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the information policy at the upper house of Russian parliament, lashed out at U.S. media for seeking details of "a secret conversation that didn't happen."

"They're sick," Pushkov said.

Trump, for his part, defended the dinner in a pair of angry tweets late Tuesday, saying it had been on his public schedule.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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