The Kremlin has just embarrassed President Donald Trump, again. On Tuesday the Kremlin leaked news that Russian President Vladimir Putin met with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires in November. The meeting was previously not publicly known, but The Financial Times first reported on the story.
What made the news a bombshell is that President Trump held the meeting with President Putin without a single U.S. official present. No government officials, no translators, no one from the State Dept. Russia is a hostile foreign country that attacked America’s elections in 2016, and has been waging a cyber war against the U.S. political system since at least 2013. It is unprecedented to have held the meeting without a U.S. witness, especially someone to record the details of what happened.
That was embarrassment number one.
Embarrassment number two came Wednesday, via TASS, the official state media news outlet of the Kremlin.
In response to the news that President Trump had no translator or other official on hand as he met with Putin, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters (link to TASS article in Russian), “It’s none of our business whether Trump had an interpreter; Putin’s interpreter is always by his side — we have stability and order in that regard,” according to Russian Media Analyst Julia Davis.
And that sounds like a strong dig at the Trump White House. Basically, President Putin knows what he’s doing, it’s none of our business that President Trump does not.
The Kremlin responds to the reports that no staff or interpreters were present during Trump’s conversation with Putin at the G20:
“It’s none of our business whether Trump had an interpreter; Putin’s interpreter is always by his side — we have stability and order in that regard.” pic.twitter.com/TTXsD382Y4
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) January 30, 2019
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has made the case that Putin could be blackmailing Trump.