Russian President Vladimir Putin hired an attractive female interpreter to “distract” President Donald Trump at a G20 summit, according to a new book by former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.
Grisham in her memoir, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now,” details the meeting between Trump and Putin at the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka, according to extracts of the book published in The New York Times.
During a meeting between the leaders, Fiona Hill, a White House advisor on Russia who was later a witness at Trump’s first impeachment trial, was said to have turned to Grisham to point out ways Putin was trying to throw Trump off balance.
“As the meeting began, Fiona Hill leaned over and asked me if I had noticed Putin’s translator, who was a very attractive brunette woman with long hair, a pretty face, and a wonderful figure,” Grisham writes, according to the extract in the Times.
“She proceeded to tell me that she suspected the woman had been selected by Putin specifically to distract our president.”
Footage of a Trump-Putin meeting at the summit reviewed by Insider shows a translator who matches the description sitting directly opposite Trump.
This video by the state-backed Russian video agency Ruptly shows Trump watching as the woman translates Putin’s words into English:
Trump’s relationship with Putin was the subject of intense scrutiny during his term in office, with US intelligence agencies concluding that Russia had launched a campaign to covertly help Trump win the White House in 2016.
Attempts by Putin, a former Russian intelligence officer, to outfox Trump in meetings and phone calls have been detailed previously.
According to Greg Miller’s 2018 book “The Apprentice,” Putin sought to exploit what he perceived to be Trump’s personal weaknesses, and encouraged Trump’s fears that there was a “deep state” of US officials plotting against him.
Trump has expressed his personal admiration for authoritarian leaders such as Putin, and the Grisham book claims that Trump told him at one meeting that he would pretend to adopt a tough tone with him for the sake of the cameras.
Trump in a statement hit back at Grisham over the claims in the book, without addressing any of them directly.
“Stephanie didn’t have what it takes and that was obvious from the beginning,” Trump said in a statement on Tuesday, claiming that she had become “very angry and bitter” after a relationship ended.
“She had big problems and we felt that she should work out those problems for herself. Now, like everyone else, she gets paid by a radical left-leaning publisher to say bad and untrue things.”