Trump reportedly hid records of his conversations with Putin from his own administration

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  • President Donald Trump reportedly hid details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin from his own administration.
  • He once took notes from his interpreter and ordered the linguist to stay silent, after a 2017 meeting with Putin in Hamburg, Germany, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.
  • US officials told The Post that no detailed records exist of Trump’s face-to-face conversations with Putin in five occasions over the last two years.

President Donald Trump has taken pains to hide details of his communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin from his own administration — even going so far as to take notes from his interpreter and order the linguist to stay silent, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.

The Post, citing current and former US officials, said Trump took the interpreter’s notes after a 2017 meeting with Putin in Hamburg, which then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also attended.

The officials said they found out about the apparent concealment when a White House adviser and a State Department official tried to get information from the interpreter beyond a separate readout provided by Tillerson.

Leaders Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet at the G-20 in Hamburg. 

(Image: Reuters video)

Leaders Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet at the G-20 in Hamburg. 

(Image: Reuters video)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in a family photo along with French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S.President Donald Trump, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, South African President Jacob Zuma, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brazilian President Michel Temer, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, U.N. Secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Saudi Arabia Minister of State Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Secretary Jose Angel Gurria, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director Roberto Azevedo, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, International Labour Organization (ILO) Director Guy Ryder, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Financial Stability Board (FSB) President Mark Carney and other leaders at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, South African President Jacob Zuma, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and other leaders pose for a family photo at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

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A White House spokesman told The Post on condition of anonymity that Tillerson’s readout of the Hamburg meeting was “fulsome” and delivered to US officials immediately afterward — and a readout was given to the press.

The spokesman added that Trump has tried to “improve the relationship with Russia” and “imposed significant new sanctions in response to Russian malign activities.”

The White House did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.

Read more: The FBI reportedly started investigating whether Trump was a Russian asset after he fired Comey

Tillerson told The Post in an email that he “was present for the entirety of the two presidents’ official bilateral meeting in Hamburg,” but declined to comment on the meeting and whether Trump had taken the interpreter’s notes.

Tillerson has previously discussed the Hamburg meeting, telling reporters at a news conference that Trump “pressed” Putin on allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, which Putin denied.

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.”

It’s unclear whether Trump has taken interpreters’ notes on more than one occasion, but several officials told The Post they never received a reliable readout from Trump and Putin’s meeting in Helsinki in July 2018, which no Cabinet officials or Trump aides attended.

US officials told The Post that no detailed records exist — even classified ones — of Trump’s face-to-face conversations with Putin in five occasions over the last two years.

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