Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump actively concealed details of his meetings with Putin

Trump actively concealed details of his meetings with Putin

The Post writes that Trump had on at least one occasion taken the notes of his own interpreter and told them not to mention what had been talked about with Putin, according to current and former USA officials.

According to the newspaper, the meeting with Putin took place in Hamburg in July 2017, which was also attended by the then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to hide details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former USA officials said.

Trump's secrecy surrounding Putin "is not only unusual by historical standards, it is outrageous", said Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of state now at the Brookings Institution, who participated in more than a dozen meetings between former presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.

U.S. officials were made aware of Trump concealing the notes when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the translator other than information Tillerson had shared, the Washington Post reported.

There remains no detailed record, even in classified files, of face-to-face meetings between Trump and Putin from five locations over the past two years, the report said.

Trump also raged on Saturday at a New York Times report according to which law enforcement officials became so alarmed by his 2017 dismissal of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey that they began probing whether he had been working for Russian Federation against USA interests.

It is unusual for these meetings of these nature to not be reported, as per past presidential standards, the Post notes, especially considering allegations of Russian Federation interfering in the 2016 election.

Trump was asked about the report on Fox News Saturday night in an interview with Jeanine Pirro, and said he wasn't "keeping anything under wraps". "I think it the most insulting article I've ever had written and if you read the article, you'd see that they found absolutely nothing".


Citing unnamed former law enforcement officials, the New York Times reported on Friday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened the combined criminal and counterintelligence probe in May of 2017.

'And in fact, when I chose to just do it, I said to myself - I said, you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story.

The investigation was subsequently folded into the broader probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible collaboration by the Trump campaign.

Trump's detractors have taken this statement as proof that he fired Comey out of anger over the Russian Federation investigation. They also sought to determine whether Trump was deliberately working for Russian Federation or had unintentionally been influenced by Moscow.

Trump has also repeatedly and vociferously denied collusion with the Russians.

The Times said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been suspicious of Trump's ties to Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign.

Trump's ex-national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his Moscow ties.

"I couldn't care less", Trump said.

The Times says it's unclear whether Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence angle.

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