In the final presidential debate of the 2016 election Donald Trump became flustered when Hillary Clinton called him a “puppet” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who U.S. intelligence agencies suspect is meddling in the presidential election. “You’re the puppet,” Trump spat into the microphone, before claiming he “doesn’t know” Putin.
“I never met Putin,” he said. “This is not my best friend. But if the United States got along with Russia, it wouldn’t be so bad.”
But by Trump’s own admission, he has met Putin multiple times.
Trump himself has said, on camera, that he talked to Putin in 2014, when he hosted the Miss Universe pageant in Russia. He said in a speech at the National Press Club that year: “I was in Moscow recently and I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success.”
More recently, during a Republican primary debate last November, Trump claimed he met Putin a second time when they were both guests on 60 Minutes. “I got to know him very well,” he bragged.