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.
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