Trump to Putin: Please Don't Meddle in US Elections

World leaders from 19 countries have gathered in Osaka, Japan, for the G20 (Group of Twenty) Summit.

Within the framework of the G20 summit, US President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for about 80 minutes on Friday, during which time the US leader joked with him about allegations of interference in US elections.

It was their first formal face-to-face meeting since a high-profile summit in Helsinki last July.

During the meeting, a reporter asked Trump whether he would tell the Russian leader not to meddle in the US's 2020 election.

Trump answered: “Yes, of course, I will,” then he turned to Putin and ironically asked Russian President not to meddle in the 2020 US election, smirking and pointing his finger at him.

“Don’t meddle in the election, please,” Trump said. However, Putin managed to maintain a smile on his face, while the remark was clearly unpleasant to him.

In recent years, relations between the two countries have significantly deteriorated due to the crisis in Ukraine, Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, differences regarding Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, and from the end of 2016 over Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 United States elections.

The Russian Government allegedly interfered in the 2016 United States elections with the goal of harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton, boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump, and increasing political or social discord in the United States.

Russian interference activities triggered strong statements from American intelligence agencies, a direct warning by then-U.S. President Barack Obama to Russian President Vladimir Putin, renewed economic sanctions against Russia, closures of Russian diplomatic facilities and expulsion of their staff. The Senate and House Intelligence Committees conducted their own investigations into the matter. Trump denied that the interference occurred, contending that it was a "hoax" perpetrated by Democrats to explain Clinton's loss.

Russian attempts to interfere in the election were first disclosed publicly by members of the United States Congress on September 22, 2016, confirmed by United States intelligence agencies on October 7, 2016, and further detailed by the Director of National Intelligence office in January 2017. According to U.S. intelligence agencies, the operation was ordered directly by Putin.

By Ana Dumbadze   

28 June 2019 12:59