President Donald Trump engaged in an unprecedented – and previously unknown – "flurry of communication" with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a three-week period earlier this year, according to a sister-network of Voice of America.
"On March 30, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by telephone, the first of five calls between the two over a period of three weeks, a flurry of communication unprecedented during Trump's 3 1/2 years in office," reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL).
Only one of those five calls, according to research from NCRM, was shared with the press. None were posted to the White House website, a serious deviation from prior practice.
"For many Russia watchers, the flurry of behind-the-scenes phone calls and other communications is a clear indication that something's going on," RFERL's Mike Eckel adds. He notes, "the two countries' diplomats have spoken at least three times over that same period, which also coincided with an unusual shipment of Russian coronavirus-related humanitarian aid to the United States."
NCRM reviewed titles of over 800 news briefings on the White House website, where the Press Office used to post details of all telephone calls between the President and foreign leaders, known as "readouts."
The White House appears to be hiding readouts from calls between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin. In fact, in a serious deviation, there are no readouts of any calls between President Trump and any foreign leader that took place this year, posted to the White House's website for the public to access.
In late September the Kremlin announced no calls between Trump and Putin could be released to the public without "mutual accord," another extreme deviation from prior practice. Notably, the Kremlin repeatedly has released readouts of calls and other interactions between Trump and Putin or other Russian leaders when the White House has not, embarrassing the U.S. The American people, for example, only learned of Trump's Oval Office meeting with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, after a Tass photographer who was in the room published the photos.
It is unknown if the White House agreed to Russia's demand.
Meanwhile, as NCRM has found, the White House gave the press pool readouts from calls between Trump and Putin for December 29 of last year, and March 30, May 7, and June 1 of this year. Only one of those dates, the March 30 call, is from the time period reported.
But Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen reports Trump and Putin spoke not only March 30 and June 1, but also April 9, April 10, and April 12.
In addition to the fact that Russia attacked the U.S. 2016 election to help elect Trump, the adversarial relationship between the U.S and Russia is at a desperate low, after The New York Times reported Russia is paying the Taliban to kill Americans soldiers in Afghanistan. Other news outlets have confirmed that reporting. The Washington Post reported that "Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops." Additional reports reveal, despite his denials, President Trump was briefed about the Russian program, yet, in apparent deference to President Putin, took no action, nor has he announced any to date.