President Trump quickly grabbed world headlines upon the start of the two-day long G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan when he warned Russia's Vladimir Putin against election meddling. Given that no doubt both leaders are as wearied of the worn out "Russian interference" hype as the American public, it was a grinning Trump who turned to his Russian counterpart saying with a grin, “Don’t meddle in the election!”
The two leaders had just given brief opening remarks when during chaotic questions fired off from the press a reporter loudly pushed the election meddling issue, asking Trump if he would raise it with Putin. “Yes, of course I will,” Trump replied. He pointed his finger at Putin while the latter chuckled.
Prompted by a reporter's question, Trump tells Putin: "Don’t meddle in the election, please."— Bloomberg (@business) June 28, 2019
Putin laughed after hearing the translation. And the U.S. president shook his head and smiled. https://t.co/uNorQr7EzH pic.twitter.com/TcTRYlxGBX
“Don’t meddle in the election, president,” Mr. Trump said with a bit of a smile as he sat next to Mr. Putin. “Don’t meddle in the election.” — WSJ
“It’s a great honor to be with President Putin,” the president said, and called their relationship “very, very good.”
And the two even shared a warm moment while discussing "fake news," per this classic exchange reported in Bloomberg:
The two leaders also bonded over journalism criticism. Trump complained to Putin about what he calls “fake news” in the U.S.
“You don’t have this problem in Russia — we have, you don’t have it,” he said. Putin, who has cracked down on the independent media in his country, responded in English: “Yes, yes we have too. The same.”
It was the second face to face meeting since July 2018, when the two controversially met alone in Helsinki, Finland. At that time Trump said he believed Putin's denials: “He just said it is not Russia,” Trump said of election meddling charges after the Helsinki meeting. “I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
The lighthearted brief exchange in response to reporters chaotically shouting questions and throwing out charges of Russian election meddling will likely be seized upon by the likes of Rachel Maddow and others as the latest "bombshell" proof of Trump and Putin being in cahoots.
A formal White House statement noted the two sought to improve relations in their Osaka meeting, especially following the break down of the the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and the avoidance of a new arms race. The statement emphasized a “21st century model of arms control, which President Trump stated as needing to include China. The leaders also discussed the situations in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Ukraine.”