Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Trump actively hid info on meetings with Putin from top officials

Trump actively hid info on meetings with Putin from top officials

Former US officials told the The Washington Post that Trump's behavior is at odds with the known practice of previous presidents, who rely on senior aides to witness such meetings.

The Washington Post said that it remained unclear whether Trump took away the recordings of translators in other cases, however, according to officials, they did not manage to get a reliable report on the two-hour meeting of the two presidents in Helsinki.

Trump has made a number of decisions during his time as president that have benefitted Putin whilst simultaneously confounding his closest officials and advisors.

Trump faced widespread criticism following the Helsinki summit from both Democrats and Republicans, with his performance at a press conference alongside Putin - in which he sided with Moscow over his own government's assertion that the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 United States election, and heaped praise on the Russian Federation strongman - roundly condemned by allies and critics alike. We had a great conversation, we were talking about Israel and securing Israel and lots of other things and it was a great conversation.

One former deputy secretary of state, Strobe Talbott, told the Post, "is not only unusual by historical standards, it is outrageous".

On Saturday evening, Trump phoned into Fox News to rebut the claims and speaking of the 2017 meeting with Putin, said: "We had a great conversation.I'm not keeping anything under wraps".

Special counsel Robert Mueller is thought to be in the final stages of an investigation that has focused largely on whether Trump or his associates conspired with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Post's revelation has come one day after a New York Times article reported the FBI had opened an investigation into whether Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russian Federation.

"The FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey's poor leadership", he tweeted.

"My firing of James Comey was a great day for America", Trump said, describing the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director as "a Crooked Cop who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller".

Investigators led by former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Mueller are trying to establish whether there was any collusion between Mr Trump's campaign team and the Russian state to help get him elected.

U.S. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement the report is "so outrageously inaccurate it doesn't even warrant a response".

Trump then repeated claims he had made in a tweet earlier that day, saying: "And I can tell you this, if you ask the folks in Russian Federation, I've been tougher on Russian Federation than anybody else, any other ― probably any other president period".

Trump has repeatedly criticized the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt" and views it as an attempt to besmirch the legitimacy of his presidency.

His former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been sentenced to three years in prison for multiple crimes, including felony violations of campaign finance laws that prosecutors allege were carried out under Trump's direction.

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