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NYT: Trump Bluntly Started Putin Meeting By Asking, 'Did You Do This?'

Image: NYT: Trump Bluntly Started Putin Meeting By Asking, 'Did You Do This?'
President Donald Trump. (Photo by Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images)

Sunday, 09 Jul 2017 04:51 PM

President Donald Trump started his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin by bluntly and unceremoniously confronting him on the issue of Moscow’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election, asking "I'm going to get this out of the way: Did you do this?," The New York Times reports.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the only high-level U.S. official in the room with Trump who had encouraged him to push Putin hard on the subject, said he was nonetheless stunned by how he started the meeting.

According to the Times, Trump's own staff was not even sure how he was going to handle the issue when he spoke with Putin.

The details of what exactly was said in the meeting has been a matter of much controversy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's version of the encounter to reporters was that the U.S. president was much less confrontational on the issue of Moscow’s interference in the American election and in fact complained to Putin about American political rivals who exaggerated the extent of Russia’s involvement.

Lavrov told reporters that Trump then "heard firm assertions from Putin that it is not true and that Russian authorities have not meddled in the elections" and that the U.S. president "said that he accepts these assertions — that's it."

However, the Times reported that a senior White House official briefed on the meeting by Tillerson said Trump pressed Putin on the subject for about 40 minutes and that the exchange became heated as Putin demanding proof before Trump said it was time to move on and discuss other issues.

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President Donald Trump started his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin by bluntly and unceremoniously confronting him on the issue of Moscow's meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
putin, new york times, trump, russian meddling, russia
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2017-51-09
Sunday, 09 Jul 2017 04:51 PM
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