Why Are We Freaking Out That Two Heads Of State Talked to Each Other At The G-20 Summit?

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jul 20, 2017 8:00 AM
Why Are We Freaking Out That Two Heads Of State Talked to Each Other At The G-20 Summit?

After landing in Denver, Colorado for the ALEC Annual Meeting, CNN had a breaking news announcement: President Trump had another meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 that wasn’t disclosed. Gasp! Two heads of state met again at a gathering for…heads of state. What am I missing about this freak out? Did Trump share the nuclear codes with Putin? Did he reveal every undercover operative in Europe? This is just getting absurd. I read NBC News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post to make sure I didn’t miss anything that could be construed as nefarious. It turned out that it was merely an hour meeting during a dinner with the rest of the G20 leaders and their spouses.

NBC News:

President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin a second time during the G-20 summit earlier this month, White House officials confirmed Tuesday.

Trump spoke to Putin at the end of a couples-only social dinner at the summit in Hamburg, Germany, the official said, reiterating it was a social dinner. Pull-asides are typically less formal than official bilateral meetings, which Trump and Putin also shared.

WaPo:

After his much-publicized two-and-a-quarter-hour meeting early this month with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Germany, President Trump chatted informally with the Russian leader for up to an additional hour later the same day.

The second meeting, undisclosed at the time, took place at a dinner for G-20 leaders, a senior administration official said. At some point during the meal, Trump left his own seat to occupy a chair next to Putin. Trump approached alone, and Putin was attended only by his official interpreter.

NYT:

Hours into a dinner with world leaders who had gathered for the Group of 20 summit meeting, President Trump left his chair at the sprawling banquet table and headed to where President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was seated.

The two presidents had met earlier in the day for the first time and, as the White House put it, had developed a rapport even as they talked about Russia’s interference in the United States’ 2016 elections.

The July 7 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, was the single most scrutinized of the Trump presidency. But it turned out there was another encounter: a one-on-one discussion over dinner that lasted as long as an hour and relied solely on a Kremlin-provided interpreter.

This wasn’t some secret smoke-filled room meeting; it was in front of everyone there. This is just becoming ridiculous. There will be no more Donald Trump, Jr. details gleaned from this rendezvous. Trump, Jr. has caused some serious heartburn for his father. First, this meeting with Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, occurred in June of 2016 and was a horrible judgment call. Veselnitskaya reportedly had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Rob Goldstone, a publicist, set up the meeting at the behest of his boss, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov. The issue here is that during the email exchanges, Goldstone said the information obtained was highly sensitive and was part of Russia’s effort to help Donald Trump win the election. The optics are terrible. It destroys the talking point that there were zero meetings or that collusion was ever considered. It obviously was, though this poor choice of a meeting seems to point to Trump, Jr. being more “collusion curious,” to quote CBS News’ John Dickerson, than having engaged in actual collusion. During the meeting, the 2016 election wasn’t discussed and Hillary Clinton wasn’t mentioned either. Jared Kushner, a top White House adviser, left shortly into the meeting, while Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was busy looking at his phone. It was a total waste of time. Yet, the media somehow thinks this pop star, whose been described as an “Enrique Iglesias wannabe” that can only get gigs at the shopping mall his father owns outside of Moscow, is some smooth international player we read about in John le Carré or Tom Clancy novels. So far, the only updates from this story have been a rather prolonged game of Guess Who? We know the identity of the eighth man at the meeting. Stop. Traffic.

Yesterday, there was more Russian hysteria when it was announced that the Trump White House would plan to stop the Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime. The Left was making the case that Russia would approve of this, but so should we since this means we wouldn’t be funding al-Qaeda. Time to cut our losses. Also, we tried training Syrians to fight ISIS. We blew $500 million to train no more than five fighters—and that was an Obama administration initiative. As Ed noted, this was the Solyndra of foreign policy ventures.

So, there you have it; it’s another freak out over nothing. I mean how dare heads of state talk to each other at a dinner held for them. No wonder Trump slammed the media (again) over this development (if you can call it that).