Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met Friday for the first time in the U.S. leader’s young presidency, an encounter that was marked by differing accounts of the issues discussed, some common ground, and areas of disagreement.
The meeting, which was held in Hamburg, Germany, on the sidelines of the G20 summit, was scheduled to last 35 minutes, but went on for more than two hours. Rex Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state who attended the meeting along with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, said Melania Trump, the first lady, entered the room after an hour to try break the meeting up, but the conversation continues. It’s what was discussed, however, that remains an open question. Only four men—Trump, Tillerson, Putin, and Lavrov—and their translators were in the room, and the accounts after the meeting on the nature of the most contentious issue between the two nations at the moment—Russian interference in the 2016 election—were divergent.
Tillerson said the two leaders had a “very robust and lengthy exchange” on cyber threats and election interference, with Trump pressing Putin “more than once” on its interference in 2016 election. Russia has repeatedly denied any such action. Tillerson said the U.S. and Russia held “intractable disagreements” on the Russian involvement, and were now focused on moving forward. “The relationship is too important not to move forward,” he said.