Politico: Few Trump-era mysteries are as intriguing as what the 45th president said to Vladimir Putin in at least a dozen rambling, off-the-cuff calls and meetings over four years. Understanding what was said between the two could help illuminate whether Trump ever revealed sensitive information or struck any deals with the Kremlin leader that could take the new administration by surprise.
I watched the opening video. It's hard to believe that a single legislator would vote against convicting Trump and preventing him from ever running again. It's almost as though Putin was in charge. pic.twitter.com/XvZDbeX3kn
— 🇨🇦🇺🇸 ThoughtsCanada 🇺🇸🇨🇦 (@ThoughtsCanada) February 9, 2021
Trump hid his calls with Putin.
Now, Biden has access to them. https://t.co/C9wVqGuRIV
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 10, 2021
Now that President Joe Biden is in the White House, he can see for himself.
“They don’t need our approval to see those [records],” a former Trump White House official said, referring to the new Biden national security team. “Biden owns all the call materials. There is only one president at a time.”
“It is a national security priority to find out what Trump said to Putin” over his four years in office, said one former national security official who is close to the new president.
Trump closely guarded his private conversations with foreign leaders while in office, going as far as to have some hidden in the NSC’s top-secret codeword system to limit staffers’ and even cabinet members’ access and prevent leaks. Readouts of Trump’s calls with Putin would often come from the Kremlin first, or through Trump’s Twitter feed. But while the calls were not recorded, aides were typically still on the line and taking notes of what was said. The resulting loose transcripts are known as “memcons,” or memorandums of conversation.
Trump went to particularly great lengths to keep his in-person conversations with the Russian leader private, from confiscating his interpreter’s notes to forgoing American translators and notetakers altogether in their meetings. That desire for secrecy has extended even past his time in office.