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Trump Jokes With Putin At G20: ‘Don’t Meddle In The Election, Please’

Trump Jokes With Putin At G20: ‘Don’t Meddle In The Election, Please’

U.S. President Donald Trump, while in his first face-to-face meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin since the publication of the Mueller report, joked with his counterpart about giving him a warning about interfering in the 2020 presidential race.

Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

A reporter asked Trump, while meeting with Putin in Japan ahead of the G20 Summit this week, if he would “tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?”

Trump responded, “Yes, of course I will.” He then turned to the Russian president, and with a smirk on his face, said, “Don’t meddle in the election, please,” The Independent reported.

He repeated his words, pointing a finger toward Putin the second time he issued out the “warning.” Putin appeared amused by the joke by the president, smiling as he did so.

Trump may not be taking the issue seriously enough, security experts warn, as many believe Russia will undoubtedly try to interfere in 2020 the same way they did in the 2016 presidential contests.

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“Russia would be remiss not to try again, given how successful they were in 2016,” retired CIA chief of Russia operations Steven Hall said, per reporting from The Guardian.

Indeed, it may become more difficult to follow Russia’s methods, Hall added, as the Kremlin will “try to be more sophisticated in covering their tracks” this time around should they decide to interfere again.

But Trump may be reticent in doing anything real about Russia, some believe, due to his belief that doing so may be admitting something he’s long-denied: that Russia interfered in order to help him win the election two-and-a-half years ago.

According to reporting from the New York Times, Trump has a habit of becoming agitated and scornful toward anyone who suggests the White House might want to look into protecting next year’s elections. Any promotion of that idea, the Times reported, is an insinuation, the president believes, into the idea that he didn’t earn his own election win legitimately.

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