White House Concealed Sensitive Conversations Because Trump Has a Big Mouth

White House

As President Donald Trump ends his first week under
an impeachment inquiry
in Congress, new reports are emerging that White
House officials have taken extraordinary steps to protect him from his own big

and The
New York Times
reported Friday evening that the White House had stored
transcripts of calls Trump had with foreign leaders, including Russian
President Vladimir Putin and members of the Saudi royal family, on a highly
classified computer system.

This practice was first revealed by the whistleblower
at the center of the impeachment inquiry, which stated that notes
of a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were stored
on the classified system.

Several media sources have since reported that the effort
was undertaken to prevent leaks from the White House about Trump’s
conversations, several of which had proven to be embarrassing to the president.

Adding to this reporting, The Washington Post also published a damning story on Friday
about Trump’s 2017
meeting in the Oval Office
with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and
Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. We already knew that it been a bad meeting
for Trump—despite U.S. reporters being barred from attending—and Trump had
acknowledged that he was happy to have fired then FBI Director James Comey the
previous day.

Trump also shared with the Russian officials highly
classified information
that revealed an intelligence source.

Now, the Post reports,
during the same meeting, Trump had said he wasn’t concerned with Russian attacks on
the previous year’s elections, which helped put him in office.

Per the Post:

President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017
Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the
2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other
countries, an assertion that prompted alarmed White House officials to limit
access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people, according to
three former officials with knowledge of the matter.

It’s not clear if a memo of that meeting was stored on the
same highly classified system as the later phone calls, but access to it was
limited to a very small group of people.

The Post added:

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, the three former
officials said. Trump also seemed to invite Russia to interfere in other
countries’ elections, they said.

At the time, leaks from this meeting had embarrassed the
president, as did previous media accounts of Trump’s conversations with the
leaders of Mexico and Australia. Therefore, according to the Times, “tighter restrictions” were put
in place.

Per the Times:

In the case of the calls with the Saudi royal family, the
restrictions were set beforehand, and the number of people allowed to listen
was sharply restricted. The Saudi calls placed in the restricted system were
with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Prince Khalid bin Salman, who at the time was the Saudi ambassador
to the United States.
While the calls included delicate information about Mr.
Trump’s discussions about the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, there
was no apparent evidence of impropriety by Mr. Trump, said a person familiar
with the matter.

The Associated Press reported Saturday morning
that these restrictions on transcripts and memos from conversations with Putin
and the Saudis “was not an attempt to conceal improper discussions but rather
keep distribution about the substance of the calls to a minimum in light of the
leaked transcripts from the summer of 2017.”

I’m not sure which is worse: The
president being intentionally dangerous and hiding crimes on highly classified
systems; or, the president being dangerously stupid, and having his people hide
crimes on highly classified systems. Both are troubling, as we see from yesterday’s reporting.

Stable genius.

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