The White House altered official records to remove Russian president Vladimir Putin's preference for President Donald Trump's election two years ago, and MSNBC's John Heilemann blasted the omission as "Orwellian."
The Trump administration also announced after the president's private Helsinki summit with Putin that no readouts will be released of future discussions with foreign leaders, and the "Morning Joe" contributor said the White House was establishing a troubling pattern.
"There's no White House logs either, we don't get to know who comes in and out of the White House," Heilemann said. "This administration's, the president's absolute desire to try to be as anti-transparent as possible has been troubling for a long time. They want to keep things secret, they want to keep us from knowing what the president is doing."
Trump has assured Americans that he reached favorable agreements with Putin during their private, two-hour meeting, but so far the only details have come from Russian officials.
"We don't know what happened in that meeting," Heilemann said. "All of these things consistent with the desire that is to keep the public from knowing what it has a right to know from a president what we've historically known."
That penchant for secrecy was made worse by the administration's willingness to falsify records that are released, he said.
"What's worse is this issue with the transcript which is not about a question of lack of transparency, but a question of trying to alter the basic record of what happened," Heilemann said. "It's not just this transcript, they've altered the video that they put out, which we saw last night on television."
Live video and videos kept by news organizations show Putin saying he preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, but the White House removed that from the official transcript and edited the statement from its video.
"These are faked records," Heilemann said. "We're in the realm -- like the invocation of Hitler, I'm always hesitant to invoke Orwell, it's too easily invoked, but this is across the board. It all adds up to a genuinely Orwellian set of circumstances happening in the White House."