US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a second meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg in early July, according to reports. The White House has since confirmed the meeting.
A White House official confirmed the second meeting, but did not say what had been discussed. The informal talk reportedly took place on the sidelines of summit, the White House confirmed with CNN, Reuters and NBC News.
The two leaders held a two-hour meeting on July 7 in front of the world's press. It has been the subject of widespread analysis since. Trump later said Putin had denied allegations he had directed efforts to interfere in the US presidential election.
In the second undisclosed conversation, Trump spoke with the Russian leader for roughly an hour, joined only by Putin's translator, reports suggest.
Economical with the truth
There are ongoing special counsel and congressional probes into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Trump's eldest son last week denied a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 election campaign had yielded potentially explosive information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Emails released by Donald Jr are the first documentary evidence showing that a Trump family member was willing to accept a meeting with a Russian government source in order to help Trump in the 2016 election.
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said on Tuesday that he was disturbed how long it took for the name of the alleged Russian spy Ike Kaveladze to come out as having been at the meeting.
He said "the Trump family is not coming clean with information."
Meanwhile, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr confirmed on Tuesday that his panel is investigating a 2016 meeting between top officials in the Trump campaign and several individuals with Russian ties.
Breach of security protocol, again
Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, told The Hill the fact that Trump was not joined in the conversation by his own translator was a breach of national security protocol.
Bremmer said in an interview with Bloomberg that the rapport Trump established with Putin during the summit is "clearly his best personal relationship" with a G20 leader.
Huntsman to be named US ambassador to Russia?
Trump said later on Tuesday that he intends to appoint Jon Huntsman as US ambassador to Russia.
Huntsman, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Mormon and former Utah governor, has twice served as a US ambassador before - first to Singapore and later China. He was also briefly under consideration to be Trump's secretary of state.
The White House made the announcement shortly after it confirmed the second Trump conversation with Putin.
Huntsman's company Huntsman International currently has a handful of businesses in Russia, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Huntsman was slow to endorse any candidate for the Republican nomination but backed Trump once he became the presumptive nominee.
After Huntsman ended his tenure in Beijing Trump in a series of tweets in 2011 and 2012 called him a "lightweight" and "weak" and claimed that China "did a major number on us" during his tenure.
jbh/bk (Reuters, AP)