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

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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration MORE and Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter split on Bloomberg video | Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign | Barr to meet with Republicans ahead of surveillance fight Bloomberg campaign hits Sanders over reports of Russian interference Sanders says he was briefed on Russian effort to help campaign 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate Melania Trump receives university's 'Woman of Distinction' award amid pushback from students 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.