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Foreign policy insider: ‘Curious’ that White House didn’t publish detailed readout of Trump-Putin call

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Ilan Berman, vice president of the conservative American Foreign Policy Council think tank, said it was curious that the White House had not provided a readout of President Donald Trump’s call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Following the call with Putin on Saturday, the Kremlin published a readout of the hour-long conversation that suggested the Russian president was pleased with Trump’s tone.

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“During the conversation, both sides expressed their readiness to make active joint efforts to stabilise and develop Russia-US cooperation on a constructive, equitable and mutually beneficial basis,” the Kremlin statement said.

But while the Kremlin produced a detailed 10-paragraph readout of the call, the White House released only a vague one-paragraph statement saying that Trump received a “congratulatory call from Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

During a Wednesday forum on Russian-Turkish relations at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Berman suggested that the White House could not provide additional details about the call because staff had disabled recording equipment.

“You always look for the readout of the phone call, whatever it is,” he said. “Did you guys notice there was no American readout of the phone call? There was none. They turned the tape recorder off. There was a Russian readout of the phone call. If you happen to read Russian and you want to inflict intellectual pain upon yourself you can go on the Kremlin website and read it.”

“If you do — as I have — you’ll find the Russians think that the phone call went really well,” Berman continued. “The Russians think that there was an implicit grant of a recognition of spheres of influence.”

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Berman later clarified his comment in a tweet: “I don’t know for a fact that they turned it off. Was merely saying it was curious that a rec. didn’t seem to exist.”

The “comment about ‘turning recorder off’ was an aside, not a revelation,” he added.

(Note: This article has been updated to clarify that Ilan Berman has no evidence that the White House turned off recording equipment.)

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Adam Schiff pushes Pence to declassify aide’s secret information — implying it might be embarrassing or illegal

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House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent a letter on Friday to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to declassify the entirety of his Sept. 18 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky for use in the impeachment inquiry.

Though the vice president’s office, along with the rest of the administration, has stonewalled the impeachment inquiry’s requests for documents, Schiff’s committee obtained information about the Sept. 18 call through Jennifer Williams, a Pence aide who has already testified. Initially, Schiff explained, Williams testified about Pence’s call and did not assert that any part of it was classified. When she testified publicly, however, she said Pence’s office had since determined that the call was classified. She later sent the committee a “supplemental submission” after reviewing “materials” that refreshed her memory about the call — and it’s that supplemental submission that Schiff would like to see declassified.

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Photo surfaces showing Eric Trump in Ukraine as investigations into the Trump Org intensify: report

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Photographic evidence has surfaced of the President's second son in Ukraine as Congress and prosecutors continue their investigation into the White House and Trump Organization.

A photo was posted Friday by Democratic strategist Scott Dworkin.

Here’s a picture I found of Eric Trump in Ukraine. Eric Trump’s Ukrainian ties need to be investigated by Congress NOW. pic.twitter.com/PeZd5TkBI4

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) December 6, 2019

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‘I haven’t had a personal cell phone for years’: Trump demands retraction from CNN — in tweet sent from his iPhone

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donald trump on the phone

On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump had spoken to Rudy Giuliani over unsecured phone lines.

If he was using an unsecured phone to talk to Giuliani about Ukraine, Trump would effectively be allowing the Russians to listen in.

CNN confirmed the unsecured phone use, reporting "President Donald Trump has continued to use his personal cell phone to make calls, despite repeated warnings from his staff that the practice could leave him vulnerable to foreign surveillance, multiple officials told CNN."

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