Trump WH Reportedly ‘Tightly Restricted’ Access to Trump’s Calls With Putin and MBS
The White House not only sequestered transcripts of President Donald Trump’s calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, it reportedly “tightly restricted” access to readouts of his calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as well.
According to new reporting by CNN’s Pamela Brown, White House aides took extraordinary steps to shield the dialogue of one phone call between Trump and MBS. The revelation comes on the heels of the whistleblower’s allegation that White House aides intentionally moved the transcript between Trump and Zelensky to an alternate, secure server to hide Trump’s troubling request that Ukraine investigate his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden.
In the case of the bin Salman call, CNN reported that the White House never circulated any transcript of the two leaders’ phone conversation, which took place in the aftermath of the Saudi government’s assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Likewise, the White House “tightly restricted” access to a Trump call with the Russian president, CNN reported, per a Trump administration official.
“Another part of the whistleblower complaint may be true,” CNN’s Erin Burnett noted in a discussion with Brown over the breaking news. “To quote the complaint again: ‘According to White House officials I spoke with,’ this is the whistle-blower, this was, quote, ‘not the first time under this administration that a presidential transcript was placed into this code-word level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive, rather than national security sensitive information.'”
“We don’t know if these additional calls were put on the super secure system,” Burnett pointed out, “but what we do know happened to them is stunning.”
“Both [Putin and MBS] maintain controversial relationships with Trump, they were among the presidential conversations that aides took remarkable steps, Erin, to keep from becoming public,” Brown reiterated to Burnett. “In the case of Trump’s call with Prince Muhammad, officials who ordinarily would have been given access to a rough transcript of the conversation never saw one according to one of the sources. Instead, Erin, a transcript was never circulated at all, which the source said was highly unusual, particularly after a high-profile conversation.”
“We should note the attempts to conceal the information with the discussions with Prince Muhammad and Putin illustrate the extraordinary effort to strictly limit the number of people with access to the conversations with foreign leaders,” Brown added. “This practice picked up steam after there were conversations leaked between the leaders of Mexico and Australia and President Trump. Putin, as well, as you’ll recall, also leaked that out. This is when the practice went into place over the past — more than a year ago. The White House did not comment about the limiting of the access with the Saudi leaders.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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