Discussing a report that Donald Trump has asked that an interpreter destroy notes — or that they were confiscated — related to private meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a national security expert in the Obama administration said it was likely that it would draw scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller.
Appearing on CNN’s New Day, Samantha Vinograd said that it was puzzling — or maybe not — why Trump would be hiding what transpired between the two leaders when they met in private with only interpreters on hand.
The nationals security specialist claimed that Trump’s decision to hide what was said between himself and Putin plays into the hands of Russian intelligence.
“There is a standard operating procedure for these meetings,” she explained. “I helped with some of these meetings after the fact. By failing to allow your team in the room, by failing to establish a firm record in line with existing U.S. law of what actually happened, you are ceding the narrative to Russian intelligence and Vladimir Putin without having any bit of evidence or a foundation of establishing a narrative on your own.”
“That comes back to the question, again, of why the president wanted to do this?” she asked. “If he took the extraordinary step of asking his interpreter to [destroy the notes] he is again aiding and abetting the Russian intelligence services in manipulating the narrative around what happened.”
Before ending the segment, Vinograd offered that the report likely drew the attention of special counsel Mueller who is looking into Russian influence in the 2016 election.
“I do think there is a legal aspect to whether the president meets one-on-one with Vladimir Putin any more,” she explained. “We know from the reporting on Friday that the FBI had entered into a criminal and a counterintelligence investigation into the president.”
“If the president knowingly puts himself in the room with Vladimir Putin again, fails to read out his team again on what happened, you have to imagine that Bob Mueller is going to be looking into the intent and motivations behind those actions,” she speculated.
You can watch the video below:
Trump is terrified that Russian interference is ‘undercutting his legitimacy’: ex-DNI lawyer
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," Robert Litt, the former general counsel to the Director of National Intelligence, cut to the heart of President Donald Trump's fury over the ongoing reports Russia is planning to intervene to rig the presidential election in his favor.
"Why do you think he refuses to accept the intelligence, and now, by his behavior and this coincidence that is not a coincidence, seems to be having the same reaction again?" asked host Erin Burnett.
"Well, I don't want to go into psychoanalyzing the president, but it's pretty clear that he views the possibility that the Russians attempted to influence the election on his behalf is undercutting his legitimacy in some respect," said Litt. "He's working backwards from that conclusion to talk about the facts ... this has been a consistent pattern all along of denial of what the intelligence community is finding."
CNN’s Elie Honig praises DOJ lawyers for revolt against Barr: ‘Like students rising up against the oppressive headmaster’
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig on Thursday heaped praise upon Department of Justice prosecutors who disregarded many of the changes to sentencing guidelines for convicted Trump ally Roger Stone that were made by Attorney General Bill Barr.
When asked by CNN's Kate Bolduan for his reaction to the prosecutors' actions, Honig responded enthusiastically.
"I applaud what this prosecutor is doing," he said. "And as a DOJ alumni on the front lines trying cases, I'm so impressed by this. This is like the scene [in a movie] where the students rise up and push back against the oppressive headmaster."
‘Barr is a toady’: Jeffrey Toobin says talk of attorney general resigning is ‘just a big show’
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says he doesn't believe Attorney General William Barr when he claims he considered resigning from the Trump administration.
Sources close to Barr told ABC News that the attorney general had contemplated quitting because President Donald Trump's tweets make it difficult for him to do his job.
"Barr is a toady," Toobin explained during an appearance on CNN. "Barr is doing what he's told. He had this one statement, 'Oh, whoa is me, it's hard for me to do my job when the president tweets.'"