Trump, Putin talked at G20 without US translator, note-taker: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE reportedly met late last year with Russian President Vladimir Putin without a translator or aide from his administration present.

The Financial Times reported Tuesday that Trump sat with Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in late November after an evening event.

Trump was joined by his wife Melania TrumpMelania TrumpEx-Melania Trump adviser raised concerns of excessive inauguration spending weeks before events: CNN The Hill's Morning Report - Trump moves green cards, citizenship away from poor, low-skilled White House seeks volunteers, musicians for Christmas celebrations MORE, but there was no note-taker or translator from the U.S. at the meeting. Putin was reportedly accompanied by a translator, with all four at a table.

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A Russian government official told the Financial Times that the talk lasted about 15 minutes and included discussions about the Syrian conflict and a clash days earlier between Russian forces and the Ukrainian navy. Trump and Putin also talked about the potential for a formal meeting, the official said.

The White House previously acknowledged that Trump came together for an "informal conversation" with Putin during the summit, but did not disclose specifics. The White House did not provide comment about the report Tuesday.

Trump was slated to meet formally with Putin at the G-20 summit, but scrapped those plans as he took off for Argentina, citing Moscow's military tensions with Ukraine at the time.

Days before the summit, Ukraine said Russia fired on some of its ships in the Kerch Strait near Crimea, hitting two vessels and injuring two crew members. Russia then seized both ships and a tugboat, Ukraine said.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, prompting significant international backlash and sanctions against Moscow.

Trump has come under scrutiny for his rhetoric and actions toward Putin and Russia since taking office.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that the FBI was so concerned about Trump’s firing of the bureau's former director, James ComeyJames Brien Comey3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Barr predicts progressive prosecutors will lead to 'more crime, more victims' James Comey shows our criminal justice system works as intended MORE, in 2017 that it opened an inquiry into whether the president was working on behalf of Russian interests.

The president denied the report, stating he has never worked for Russia.

A day after the Times report, The Washington Post reported that Trump had kept details of his meetings with Putin from top officials in his administration, including withholding notes from an interpreter. 

Democrats have raised the possibility of calling the president's interpreter to testify or subpoenaing their notes from Trump's meetings with Putin. Critics of that route have suggested it would set a problematic precedent.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that it would be a positive for the U.S. to have closer relations with Russia, and simultaneously blasted special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as a "witch hunt."