CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd suggested on Sunday that President Donald Trump aided and abetted Russian intelligence by reportedly taking his interpreter’s notes from a 2017 meeting with Vladimir Putin, and also ordering the linguist not to discuss the face-to-face discussion with other members of his administration.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the president has gone to “extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations” with Putin.
“U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years,” the newspaper reported.
Vinograd, who served as a national security expert within the administration of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, told CNN’s New Day that special counsel Robert Mueller no doubt took notice of the report and could investigate further.
She also pointed out that Trump’s actions fell well outside of normal protocols.
I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2019
“There is a standard operating procedure for these meetings,” Vinograd 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,” she said.
“If [Trump] took the extraordinary step of asking his interpreter to destroy notes from the meeting, he is again aiding and abetting the Russian intelligence services in manipulating the narrative around what happened,” the expert added.
The New York Times on Friday reported that Trump had been the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in 2017 after he fired James Comey as director of the federal agency.