The Washington Post reports the president instructed his interpreter not to disclose any details of what transpired during the meeting to administration officials.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to conceal details of his personal interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including on at least one occasion when he seized the notes of his own interpreter, according to The Washington Post.
Citing current and former U.S. officials, the report claims that after a 2017 meeting between the two heads of state in Germany, Trump also instructed the translator not to disclose any details of what transpired with administration officials.
Trump’s actions were reportedly brought to light when a White House advisor and senior State Department official requested further information from the interpreter in addition to a handout provided by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also attended.
Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to hide details of talks with Putin, such as taking interpreter’s notes, U.S. officials say https://t.co/TxIarXrLFX
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 12, 2019
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a White House spokesperson told the Post that the Trump’s administration has attempted to “improve the relationship with Russia” after the Obama administration “pursued a flawed ‘reset’ policy that sought engagement for the sake of engagement.”
When asked about the report by Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro Saturday evening, Trump said that he wasn’t “keeping anything under wraps” and that he would be happy to share what was discussed with Putin.
Trump on Washington Post report about him concealing his contact with Putin: “We had a great conversation…I’m not keeping anything under wraps. I couldn’t care less.”
— Connor Ryan (@connortryan) January 13, 2019
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 Russia.
In the same interview with Pirro, Trump referred to the Times’ article as “the most insulting article I’ve ever had written [about me].”
“And I can tell you this, if you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other ― probably any other president period,” he said. “But certainly the last three or four presidents, modern day presidents, nobody’s been as tough as I have from any standpoint.”
Both reports have come as special counsel Robert Mueller closes in on the president while investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegations Trump obstructed justice.