CNN seems determined to go out with a fake news bang. Rather than learning from the consequences of the past few weeks and adjusting course, the network continues to pump out more and more (and worse and worse) fake news. Along with other liberal mainstream media, CNN reported Tuesday that President Trump had not one, but two, undisclosed, secret meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit. Those reports were completely bogus.
According to liberal media, the second “secret meeting” supposedly took place at the G-20 summit earlier this month in Hamburg, Germany, and was only attended by Trump, Putin, and Putin’s translator. These same media had a field day reporting on the meeting.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a second, previously undisclosed conversation during a dinner for G20 leaders at a summit earlier this month in Germany, a White House official confirmed on Tuesday.
The second conversation between Trump and Putin took place during a dinner for the Group of 20 heads of state and their spouses in Hamburg, said Ian Bremmer, the president of political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, who was first to report the meeting in a note to clients.
Bremmer said Trump got up from his seat halfway through dinner and spent about an hour talking "privately and animatedly" with Putin, "joined only by Putin's own translator."
Bremmer added that the lack of a U.S. translator raised eyebrows among other leaders at the dinner, who called it a "breach of national security protocol."
Bloomberg published a video of Charlie Rose interviewing Bremmer. Bremmer told Rose, “Never in my life as a political scientist have I seen two countries — major countries — with a constellation of national interests that are as dissonant, while the two leaders seem to be doing everything possible to make nice and be close to each other.”
Here’s what happened:
Following the fake news that Trump and Putin had a “secret” and “undisclosed” meeting at the G-20, the White House issued a statements saying:
The night of the G20 summit, there was, first, a concert for all the leaders in the new Hamburg opera house. The leaders were all photographed by the press in a group photo before going in. Later that night, Chancellor Merkel hosted a dinner for leaders and spouses only, and the German government set the seating arrangements. The concert and dinner were publicly announced on both the President’s schedule and the G20 schedule, with the clear understanding that all visiting leaders would be present.
At the dinner, President Trump was seated between Mrs. Abe, wife of the Prime Minister of Japan, and Mrs. Macri, wife of the President of Argentina. Mrs. Trump was seated next to President Putin.
During the course of the dinner, all the leaders circulated throughout the room and spoke with one another freely. President Trump spoke with many leaders during the course of the evening. As the dinner was concluding, President Trump went over to Mrs. Trump, where he spoke briefly with President Putin.
Each couple was allowed one translator. The American translator accompanying President Trump spoke Japanese. When President Trump spoke to President Putin, the two leaders used the Russian translator, since the American translator did not speak Russian.
There was no “second meeting” between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner. The insinuation that the White House has tried to “hide” a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd.
It is not merely perfectly normal, it is part of a president’s duties, to interact with world leaders. Throughout the G20 and in all his other foreign engagements, President Trump has demonstrated American leadership by representing our interests and values on the world stage.
Not surprisingly, late Tuesday, President Trump took to his favorite platform for mass communication, Tweeting:
Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is "sick." All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017
The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017
CNN, which had reported on the "secret" meeting, doubled down and took the fake news prize — as per usual. CNN commentator Chris Cillizza responded to Trump Wednesday, publishing a hit piece accusing the president of fake news for calling out fake news. Cillizza claimed, “No one is making the dinner look ‘sinister.’ And, no one is suggesting that the media was unaware that the dinner was taking place.” Cillizza then Tweeted a link to an article of his:
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) July 19, 2017
There is a serious problem with Cillizza’s claim, though, because anchors at CNN — Cillizza’s own network — absolutely and certainly did claim that the meeting had been undisclosed and implied that it was sinister.
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin used the phrase “secret sit-down” to describe the meeting before asking, “Why didn’t we know about this?” On another occasion, Baldwin reported, “These two presidents, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, did not disclose a second meeting until now.”
And CNN anchor Kate Bolduan called the meeting a “secret and second sitdown between the president and Russian president Vladimir Putin” before asking, “Why wasn’t the meeting revealed? What was discussed? And who knows what really was said?” Keeping to the pattern, she said on another occasion on Wednesday that it was a “secret sitdown between the President and Vladimir Putin. Only three people know what they said at all, what was talked about.” She followed up by asking, “How unusual is this? Did it break any rules? Can it happen again? And why wasn’t it revealed that they met for a second time?”
This writer doesn’t think it's going out on a limb to say that those “reports” are prime examples of painting a picture of a “sinister,” “secret,” “private” meeting of which “the media was unaware.” Cillizza really should try to keep up.
Cillizza should also be careful about judging anything on Twitter as fake. Or Tweeting anything he hasn’t bothered to research (assuming he can conduct research). Because this is not his first time playing at the fake news game via Twitter. Earlier this month, he hitched his wagon to the fake news story that Poland’s First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda snubbed President Trump by refusing to shake his hand. He retweeted an edited video (which was cut off just before the two shook hands) with the very adult note, “OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD...”
Never mind the fact that a litany of other “journalists” from other liberal mainstream media reported about the same “secret” and “private” meeting between Trump and Putin that was “previously undisclosed.” CNN reported enough of that pablum that Cillizza should have (and likely did) know that when he claimed that “no one” was “suggesting” that the meeting was underhanded, he was running the fake news machine on fumes.
Any honest reporting of the meeting between Trump and Putin might have carried headlines along the lines of “At G-20 Summit, Trump Does His Job.” Of course, that may be a little too Anne Murray for the liberal mainstream media, since it lacks anything approaching a scandal involving Trump.