President Donald Trump sent out a number of tweets on Sunday detailing his conversation with President Vladimir Putin, including one in which he said that U.S. sanctions on Russia were not discussed in their meeting:
Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
The two leaders held a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit on Friday, that ran more than two hours and included a discussion of Russia interference in the U.S. election, as well as policy in Syria and Ukraine.
The Obama administration issued sanctions on Russia in response to the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that the Kremlin directed extensive interference in the 2016 election.
Reports simmered in anticipation of the Friday meeting that the Russian president would seek to have Trump loosen sanctions on Russia, and possibly return the two diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland that Russian diplomats were expelled from in December.
In Monday’s White House briefing, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders contradicted the president’s tweet, telling reporters that sanctions were discussed in the Putin meeting.
“I do know that it was mentioned specifically,” Sanders said. “There were sanctions specific to election meddling that I believe were discussed, but not beyond that.”
It’s yet another example of White House officials providing varying accounts of the closed-door meeting between the two leaders — not to mention the Russian version of events, which held that Trump accepted Putin’s claim that Russia did not meddle in the U.S. election.
After the meeting, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Trump told Putin U.S. lawmakers were looking to push additional sanctions over election meddling.
So, it’s again up to the observer to decide whether to believe the word of the Russians, White House officials or President Trump himself.
[image via screengrab]
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