Al­le­ga­tions of elec­tion med­dling loom large over his­toric meet­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

HAM­BURG, Ger­many — With broad grins and a warm hand­shake, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin warmed up for their his­toric en­counter on Fri­day un­der the shadow of US ou­trage about al­leged Rus­sian elec­tion med­dling and nag­ging ques­tions about po­ten­tial Trump cam­paign col­lu­sion.

Ahead of a for­mal, sit-down meet­ing, Trump and Putin were seen ex­chang­ing pleas­antries as a lead­ers’ re­treat got un­der­way in Ham­burg.

As of­fi­cials gath­ered around a ta­ble, Trump out­stretched his hand to Putin and then pat­ted his el­bow and both men smiled. A brief video clip shows Trump ca­su­ally pat­ting Putin on the back as they stand side by side.

Video of the ex­change was posted to Face­book by the Ger­man Cab­i­net. It was the first known in-per­son in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the two men, who have spo­ken by tele­phone since Trump was in­au­gu­rated in Jan­uary.

The two lead­ers planned later on Fri­day to hold longer talks on Syria and other is­sues on the side­lines of the G20 sum­mit of in­dus­tri­al­ized and de­vel­op­ing na­tions.

The White House said it

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