Speed Reads

keeping mum

Trump denies going to 'extraordinary lengths' to hide Putin conversations from his own staff

President Trump has "gone to extraordinary lengths" to hide details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including from his own administration staff, The Washington Post reported Saturday evening. In one case, Trump reportedly took his own interpreter's notes from a call with Putin and told the interpreter not to discuss the talk with other officials.

Trump vehemently denied the report in a phone interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro late Saturday, saying he'd happily share information on his meeting with Putin in Finland last year.

"I'm not keeping anything under wraps, I couldn't care less," Trump said. "I had a conversation like every president does," he added. "You sit with the president of various countries. I do it with all countries." Trump then attacked The Washington Post and its owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and said the suggestion he has ever worked on Moscow's behalf is "insulting."

If the Post report is correct, said former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, Trump's secrecy "is not only unusual by historical standards, it is outrageous. It handicaps the U.S. government — the experts and advisers and Cabinet officers who are there to serve [the president] — and it certainly gives Putin much more scope to manipulate Trump."