At a photo op before their private G20 summit meeting, the Russian President leaned in to Mr Trump, gestured to the journalists in the room, and asked: "These are the ones hurting you?”
"These are the ones. You're right about that,” Mr Trump responded.
Mr Putin appeared to be commiserating with Mr Trump on complaints that the media is “attacking” him. The President has repeatedly accused the news media of reporting falsely on his administration, referring to them as “fake news” and “the enemy of the American people”.
The brief aside drew outcry from journalists, many of whom pointed to the Putin regime’s poor track record with the media. Almost 60 journalists have been killed in Russia since 1993, according the Committee to Protect Journalists. Most of these reporters covered topics like politics, corruption, and war.
Mr Trump himself has hinted at retaliating against journalists, in increasingly violent ways.
This week, the president retweeted a gif depicting him body-slamming a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his head. He also called a female journalist 'crazy" and "dumb as a rock," and accused her of "bleeding badly from a facelift". He has also reportedly suggested jailing journalists who leak classified information.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has defended Mr Trump's actions by calling him “a president who fights fire with fire”.
"I think he’s been very clear that when he gets attacked he’s going to hit back," she said at a press conference.
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
1/11 Paul Manafort
Mr Manafort is a Republican strategist and former Trump campaign manager. He resigned from that post over questions about his extensive lobbying overseas, including in Ukraine where he represented pro-Russian interests.
2/11 Mike Flynn
Mr Flynn was named as Trump's national security adviser but was forced to resign from his post for inappropriate communication with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. He had misrepresented a conversation he had with Mr Kislyak to Vice President Mike Pence, telling him wrongly that he had not discussed sanctions with the Russian.
3/11 Sergey Kislyak
Mr Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, is at the centre of the web said to connect President Donald Trump's campaign with Russia.
4/11 Roger Stone
Mr Stone is a former Trump adviser who worked on the political campaigns of Richard Nixon, George HW Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Mr Stone claimed repeatedly in the final months of the campaign that he had backchannel communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that he knew the group was going to dump damaging documents to the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton - which did happen. Mr Stone also had contacts with the hacker Guccier 2.0 on Twitter, who claimed to have hacked the DNC and is linked to Russian intelligence services.
5/11 Jeff Sessions
The US attorney general was forced to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation after it was learned that he had lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
6/11 Carter Page
Mr Page is a former advisor to the Trump campaign and has a background working as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. Mr Page met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Mr Page had invested in oil companies connected to Russia and had admitted that US Russia sanctions had hurt his bottom line.
7/11 Jeffrey "JD" Gorden
Mr Gordon met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republian National Convention to discuss how the US and Russia could work together to combat Islamist extremism should then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump win the election. The meeting came days before a massive leak of DNC emails that has been connected to Russia.
8/11 Jared Kushner
Mr Kushner is President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a key adviser to the White House. He met with a Russian banker appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December. Mr Kushner has said he did so in his role as an adviser to Mr Trump while the bank says he did so as a private developer. Mr Kushner has also volunteered to testify in the Senate about his role helping to arrange meetings between Trump advisers and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
9/11 James Comey
Mr Comey was fired from his post as head of the FBI by President Donald Trump. The timing of Mr Comey's firing raised questions around whether or not the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign may have played a role in the decision.
10/11 Preet Bharara
Mr Bahara refused, alongside 46 other US district attorney's across the country, to resign once President Donald Trump took office after previous assurances from Mr Trump that he would keep his job. Mr Bahara had been heading up several investigations including one into one of President Donald Trump's favorite cable television channels Fox News. Several investigations would lead back to that district, too, including those into Mr Trump's campaign ties to Russia, and Mr Trump's assertion that Trump Tower was wiretapped on orders from his predecessor.
11/11 Sally Yates
Ms Yates, a former Deputy Attorney General, was running the Justice Department while President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general awaited confirmation. Ms Yates was later fired by Mr Trump from her temporary post over her refusal to implement Mr Trump's first travel ban. She had also warned the White House about potential ties former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to Russia after discovering those ties during the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's connections to Russia.
Just 24 hours before Friday’s meeting with Mr Putin, the President mounted yet another attack on the American media, this time in a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Commenting on a recent CNN article, Mr Trump claimed that the outlet had some “pretty serious problems”.
“They have been fake news for a long time. They’ve been covering me in a very dishonest way,” he said. “NBC is equally as bad, despite the fact that I made them a fortune with ‘The Apprentice,’ but they forgot that.”
Many felt the comments were in poor taste, especially following a speech in which Mr Trump had positioned the US as an example for the world.
“Potus disparaging abroad of US media dilutes respect for American democracy & gives license to autocrats to crack down on their own media,” tweeted Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
“A trashing of the American press corps and Intel community in Eastern Europe of all places,” added NBC’s Chuck Todd. “Could Putin have asked for anything more?”Reuse content