Russian Lawmaker Attacks U.S. Media Over Reporting on ‘Meeting’

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Alexei Pushkov.

A senior Russian lawmaker is dismissing media reports of an undisclosed conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump as sensationalist.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer and National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton confirmed on Tuesday that Presidents Trump and Putin spoke at a dinner for world leaders and their spouses at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. President Trump defended the dinner conversation in a pair of angry tweets late Tuesday, saying it had been on his public schedule.

Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the information policy at the upper house of Russian parliament, on Wednesday lashed out at U.S. media for seeking details of “a secret conversation that didn’t happen.”

“They’re sick,” Pushkov said.

The conversation came hours after Presidents Trump and Putin’s first official face-to-face meeting on July 7, which was originally scheduled to last just half an hour but stretched on for more than two. The two world leaders were also captured on video shaking hands and exchanging a few words after they arrived at the G-20 summit of industrialized and developing nations earlier that day.

Anton would not specify the duration of the conversation. But he said the discussion was casual and should not be characterized as a “meeting” or even a less formal, but official, “pull-aside.”