Trump denies reports concealed Putin meetings: We discussed Israel

Officials learned of Trump's actions after a meeting with Putin in Germany in 2017.

By ALON EINHORN
January 12, 2019 18:18
3 minute read.
Trump denies reports concealed Putin meetings: We discussed Israel

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin are seen during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. (photo credit: MARCOS BRINDICCI/REUTERS)

 
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US President Donald Trump denied reports that he had concealed details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin from senior American officials, saying that the conversations focused in part on Israel and its security.

"We had a great conversation," Trump said in an interview on Fox News Sunday when asked about his conversations with Putin. "We were talking about Israel and the security of Israel and lots of other things."

"I'm not keeping anything under wraps," Trump said.

The Washington Post
reported Sunday that Trump concealed details of his meetings with Putin from American officials, and on at least one occasion instructed a Russian-English translator who was present in the meetings not to tell other officials what had been discussed and kept the translator's notes for himself, according to the report.

Officials learned of Trump's actions after a meeting with Putin in Germany in 2017, when a White House adviser and a State Department official, both of whom remain unnamed in the Washington Post report, sought information from the translator.

As a result, there is no detailed record of conversations between the two leaders, who have met five times over the past two years. The Washington Post called the gap "unusual in any presidency," but even more so after Russian attempts to intervene in the 2016 US elections.

The report follows Friday's revelation that the FBI opened an investigation into whether US President Donald Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russia several days after Trump fired the bureau’s director James Comey, The New York Times has reported.

The report of the inquiry published in the Times was based on the testimonies of former US law agents and others involved in the case.


“The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported.

Trump responded on Twitter, beginning his comments by saying that the Times was “failing.” He then said that those who initiated the investigations – mostly former FBI leaders he said he fired for “very bad reasons” – did so with “no reason and no proof” in response to his firing of Comey.


The president did not stop there. He then began attacking Comey personally, claiming, “Everybody wanted him fired, Republicans and Democrats alike.”


He continued attacking the former FBI director by saying the “FBI was in complete turmoil” when Comey was leading it, and even said that Comey “was a crooked cop.”



Eventually, Trump claimed, he has “been FAR tougher with Russia... maybe than any other President.” Trump said he hoped that the US “will have good relations with Russia again.”


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