Speed Reads

Off the record

There's no way to know exactly what Trump and Putin are discussing behind closed doors

President Trump's controversial decisions to meet with antagonistic world leaders will go down in the history books. The actual content of those meetings, however, will not.

His Monday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a one-on-one conversation, with only translators present, reports The Wall Street Journal. One official said Trump didn't want to invite note-takers into the room to avoid leaks — but that also means that there will be no official record of the meeting.

Trump also met alone with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month, and the two leaders had fairly different accounts of the conversation after it ended: Trump said that North Korea would immediately completely dismantle its nuclear weapons program, while Kim claimed he had agreed only to a "step-by-step" process with U.S. security guarantees.

Trump has said that he would ask Putin about election meddling, Syria, and nuclear weapons, but experts are concerned that Russia might offer a misleading account of the conversation. The meeting was scheduled to last for an hour and a half but stretched more than two hours, Reuters reported. While there will be no official historical record of what was discussed, Trump and Putin will hold a joint press conference following the meeting to give reporters at least some information. Unless Russia secretly records the meeting, we'll have to take their word for it.