Trump + Putin Meet, Shake Hands, Totally Solve All That Election-Collusion Stuff
The presidents of the United States and Russia, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, respectively, had their first meeting today at the G-20 meeting in Germany. "It's an honor to meet you," Trump told his Russian counterpart, who, we should note, is an authoritarian dictator.
It was a long-anticipated meeting, following months of intense media coverage of possible collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian agents out to subvert American democracy by sabotaging Hillary Clinton and thereby aiding Trump. Trump has, of course, denied any such collusion took place, but evidence continues to mount, even if there is no ironclad proof.
What Trump and Putin discussed in the private session — which was attended only by the two presidents, their respective chief diplomats and a pair of translators — isn't clear. Trump apparently had no set plan going in. "There’s no specific agenda," said H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser. "It’s really going to be whatever the president wants to talk about."
It's possible they spoke about Russia's deliberate interference in the 2016 election — an assertion supported with "high confidence" by the U.S. intelligence community — but since that interference only served to help Trump become president, why would Trump want to bring that up? To thank Putin? To ask if he would do it again next time around?
According to Putin, at least, that's not what happened:
Then again, there are also some reports saying that Trump and Putin did discuss Russian interference, but that Trump may have simply "accepted statements from Putin that Russia had not hacked [the] election," according to The New York Times. Welp, guess that settles it. If Putin says they didn't do it, we should all just go along with that, right?
Folks on Twitter had a lot of fun finally seeing the two men together:
But here's the pic that's garnering the most attention, some with a wink:
...some (sort of) playfully:
Putin even made a joke about Trump's battles with the press:
(Keep in mind that Putin — who, again, is a brutal dictator — has reportedly had journalists killed when he hasn't approved of their stories.)
The meeting, which was supposed to take just half an hour, ended up lasting more than two hours. Here are a few guesses as to what went on:
Bear or no bear, everyone agrees the two men got along just famously:
And of course, there's always the infamous "pee tape":
We may never know the true nature of what occurred in that meeting, but let's keep those guesses coming.