According to a new report by The Washington Post, Donald Trump took his interpreter’s notes after a one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin and told the translator not to reveal what had transpired to other officials in his own administration.
President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal 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 U.S. officials said.
Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.
The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.
As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.
Bolding is mine.
The result of Trump’s actions is there are no records of his five face-to-face discussions with Putin.
In related news, Trump called into Fox News last night during the Judge Jeanine show.
Jeanine Pirro, referencing the recent New York Times report that indicates the FBI became concerned whether Trump was acting on Russia’s behalf after firing FBI director James Comey, asked Trump point blank “are you now or have you ever worked for Russia?”
Trump never directly answered the question, but responded with, “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked.”
Trump for some reason refuses to give a direct answer to question whether he is a Russian asset or works for the government of Russia. pic.twitter.com/GyjGvVEWXo
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) January 13, 2019
JEANINE PIRRO: “Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia?”
TRUMP: [spends two minutes tossing an alphabet salad that doesn’t include the word “no”] pic.twitter.com/KJGVLgYgYk
— shauna (@goldengateblond) January 13, 2019
This is a bit wild. Trump actually doesn’t give a yes or no when asked by Judge Jeniene if he’s a Russian asset.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) January 13, 2019
Why can’t you simply say, No, I’m not working for Russia?
All these long-winded non denials, all these tweets, all this energy. You couldn’t even answer a Fox News cheerleader with a simple, “No.”
— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) January 13, 2019