In 2017, Trump Told Russian Officials He Was Unconcerned About Election Meddling
During his meeting with two Russian officials in 2017, President Donald Trump said he was not concerned about the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
The reason Trump wasn’t worried about election meddling? Because the United States does the same thing in other countries, Trump said.
Three former officials spoke with The Post about the president’s conversation — the same one during which Trump shared highly classified information and said his firing of former FBI Director James Comey had relieved “great pressure” on him — which took place at the White House with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“A memorandum summarizing the meeting was limited to all but a few officials with the highest security clearances in an attempt to keep the president’s comments from being disclosed publicly,” The Post reported the sources saying.
The issue of the Trump administration’s handling of Trump’s communication with foreign leaders took center stage this week, after a whistleblower complaint alleged that White House officials were hiding transcripts of calls in a top secret computer system.
The whistleblower specifically said that Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, in which he asked for an investigation into Joe Biden, was placed inappropriately on the codeword-level server.
Whether or not memos from Trump’s conversation with Lavrov and Kislyak were placed on the same secret server remains unclear, but The Post’ sources said access to the information was restricted to only a few people.
“It was more about learning how can we restrict this in a way that still informs the policy process and the principals who need to engage with these heads of state,” a fourth former official told the publication.
According to the other three sources, “White House officials were particularly distressed by Trump’s election remarks because it appeared the president was forgiving Russia for an attack that had been designed to help elect him.”
Further, the president’s comments also appeared to invite Russian interference in other countries.