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Trump, Putin share a 'cheers' at G-20 dinner

Trump, Putin share a 'cheers' at G-20 dinner
© Handout/G20

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE and Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHow to think about Russia Do Biden's 'tough new sanctions' give Putin Nord Stream 2? Russia vows retaliation for new US sanctions: 'We do not intend to put up with this' MORE shared a "cheers" as the pair gathered with other world leaders at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Japan.

Trump and Putin were photographed sitting near each other at a G-20 dinner Friday night in Osaka with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seated between them.

At one point, Trump grabbed his glass and reached to clink it with Putin's cup, which appeared to be a plastic tumbler. Both then took a sip from their cups.

It was unclear what was in the president's wine glass, though he is known to drink Diet Coke. It was unclear what was in Putin's cup.

Trump's interactions with Putin at formal dinner gatherings have drawn attention before, given tensions over Moscow's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the president's perceived downplaying of Russian meddling.

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At a G-20 dinner in 2017, Trump appeared to gesture toward Putin across the table and pumped his fist. First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - FBI director testifies on Jan. 6 Capitol attack Overnight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions Trump has been vaccinated for coronavirus MORE was seated next to the Russian leader at that dinner.

The White House also said that Trump and Putin had an "informal" conversation at a G-20 summit last year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, though it was unclear what the two leaders discussed. Trump had previously canceled a formal meeting with Putin over Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian ships shortly before that gathering.

At this year's summit, Trump gave a perfunctory warning about Russia's election meddling. During a sit-down in front of cameras earlier Friday, journalists shouted questions about whether Trump planned to tell Putin not to interfere in U.S. elections. Trump grinned and turned to tell Putin, "Don't meddle in the election, please. Don't meddle in the election." 

Trump and Putin also shared a laugh over frustration with journalists, with Trump remarking, "Fake news is a great term, isn't it? You don't have this problem in Russia, but we do." Putin responded in English: "We also have. It's the same."

The exchange drew attention given the history of Putin critics and Russian journalists who have turned up dead over the years. Russia has ranked low for press freedom, being listed at 149 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom index.

Trump and Putin joined other heads of state to exchange pleasantries while posing next to each other for the summit's "family photo" Friday, with Trump standing between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Trump is scheduled to meet Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. That meeting comes amid pressure for both sides to reach a trade deal to avoid an escalating tariff battle between the two countries.