Looking Thrilled, Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Embrace With Bro-Handshake

The two leaders appeared very excited to greet each other.

Among all world leaders gathering in Buenos Aires for the G-20 summit, two on Friday appeared especially delighted to greet one another: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Their public embrace, which featured a hearty handshake and big smiles, was quickly followed by an appearance from President Donald Trump, who can be seen in the background slowly entering the room and waving off a microphone:

Putin and bin Salman share a variety of common interests—oil, authoritarian regimes, and maybe even a genuine friendship—but the surreal moment on Friday raised eyebrows, as it came amid two international crises that have engulfed the two leaders and their American counterpart. The first involves the ongoing Russia probe, which imploded again this week after Trump’s former attorney admitted to lying to Congress about efforts to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow well into the 2016 election. The stunning development dramatically undercut Trump’s long-standing denials that he had any business dealings with Russia.

The second involves Trump’s continued refusal to directly implicate the crown prince for the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and his undermining of US intelligence officials in favor of the arguments by the crown prince. “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t,” Trump said last week. CIA findings directly point to the crown prince as being responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.

Both controversies have raised questions about whether Russia and Saudi Arabia have deeper financial ties with the Trump organization or damaging information about him personally. 

Eyebrows raised, many took to social media to comment on Friday’s greeting:

Shortly after Michael Cohen’s guilty plea, Trump abruptly canceled his planned meeting with Putin, citing Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian ships last week.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate