Former Deputy Secretary of State: Trump's secrecy on Putin meetings 'outrageous'

GettyImages-1081127244

GettyImages-1081127244

Mr Trump took notes from his interpreter made during a 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg and took other steps to hide details of their conversations, a report in the Washington Post said on Saturday.

A US House of Representatives committee will look into a newspaper report the FBI investigated whether President Donald Trump has been working on behalf of Russian Federation, against US interests, the panel's Democratic chairman says. In particular, he spoke with Putin at a banquet in Hamburg in 2017 in the presence of only Putin's interpreter.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. They also sought to determine whether Trump was deliberately working for Russian Federation or had unintentionally been influenced by Moscow.

Administration officials have been unable to glean details of at least three other public interactions between the leaders over the past two years. We had a great conversation, we were talking about Israel and securing Israel and lots of other things and it was a great conversation.

"Outrageous", former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott called the obsession with secrecy.

Protesters rally before Trump and Putin's Helsinki meeting.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told The New Yorker that his first act will be to create a subcommittee tasked with investigating Trump.

Trump also took aim at an earlier story in The New York Times stating that the FBI launched a previously undisclosed counterintelligence investigation to determine whether he posed a national security threat, at the same time that it opened a criminal probe into possible obstruction of justice.

Trump blasted the FBI on Twitter, insisting it acted "for no reason & with no proof" when it opened the investigation.

Mr Trump's relations with Russian Federation before his election in 2016 are the subject of an ongoing federal investigation. "That meeting is open for grabs".

"Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, nearly all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin' James Comey, a total sleaze!", Mr Trump tweeted.

"The FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey's poor leadership", he tweeted.

Trump disclosed classified information about a terror plot, called former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey a "nut job", and said that firing Comey had removed "great pressure" on his relationship with Russian Federation.

"I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked", he said, without directly answering the question.

But though Tillerson had declined during the news conference to say whether Trump had accepted or rejected Putin's denial, Trump administration officials said the only detail the interpreter would give them was that Trump responded by telling Putin, "I believe you".

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the story was so outrageously inaccurate it didn't even warrant a response.

'It was a great insult, and the New York Times is a disaster as a paper, ' Trump said. The FBI was concerned President Trum could be actively working for Russian Federation.

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland in July 2018.

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called the Times report "absurd" and said Comey was sacked for being "a disgraced partisan hack".

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