President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shared a quick moment while at the G-20 summit being held in Japan after Trump told Putin to stay out of the 2020 election.
When asked by a reporter if he would ask Putin to refrain from interfering in the upcoming presidential election during their bilateral meeting, Trump said, "Yes, of course I will."
"Don't meddle in the election, president," Trump told Putin in what was described as a joking manner by reporters. Wagging his finger at Putin, Trump told him again, "Don't meddle in the election."
Putin laughed once an interpreter translated Trump's demand.
The White House said Trump and Putin were meeting while at the G-20 to talk about global security issues like arms control, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Ukraine. Election interference was not discussed, according to the White House's readout of their meeting.
The moment was a far cry from the last time the two presidents met face-to-face. After Trump's meeting with Putin in Helsinki last July, the U.S. president was criticized for what was seen as his overly deferential manner towards Putin and his willingness to accept his denials that Russia hadn't interfered in the 2016 election.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has sought to improve the U.S relationship with Russia, saying it could help the U.S. deal with global issues like Syria to North Korea.
Trump said his priority while at the G-20 Summit will be trade deals that would boost the U.S. economy. He's scheduled to sit down with China's President Xi Jinping on Saturday to talk trade after the world's two biggest economies have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of each other's goods since the beginning of 2018. The trade war has battered financial markets and worn on consumer demand.
Trump said he believes there's a good chance he'll arrive at a deal with China over the weekend.
"I think we have a very good chance," Trump told reporters. "We’ll see what happens. Ultimately, something will happen and it will only be good."
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