On Friday, President Donald Trump appeared at the annual G-20 summit with other world leaders. Even before the official start of the summit, the president made news by cancelling a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The White House claimed that the meeting was cancelled because of Russian aggression against Ukraine. But observers noted that the cancellation suspiciously aligned with developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the US election, including shocking testimony by Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement denouncing the Mueller investigation, yet claiming that the reason for the cancelled meeting was the situation with Ukraine. "Hopefully, that will be resolved soon so that productive conversations can begin," Sanders said in a statement.
CNN national security expert Samantha Vinograd was not convinced, noting the suspicious similarity between the White House statement and the message broadcast by state Russian media.
"Well, it's very clear she's echoing Russian talking points," Vinograd said.
"We heard the Russians blaming U.S. politics for the reason President Trump has canceled the meeting."