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WH Concealed Calls With Putin, Crown Prince: Report

As well as reported convo in which Trump told Russians election interference didn't concern him
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2019 6:30 AM CDT
President Trump walks on the South Lawn after stepping off Marine One at the White House on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – As an impeachment inquiry into President Trump gains momentum after a whistleblower complaint regarding his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky, more stories are breaking that suggest a concealment like the one alleged after the Trump-Zelensky call may not have been limited to that call. Sources tell CNN that White House aides "took remarkable steps" to keep restricted at least one telephone conversation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as one between Trump and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Regarding the bin Salman conversation, a source tells the news outlet that access to a transcript of that call wasn't given to officials who normally would've had it—a "highly unusual" move, given the big name involved in the call, per the source.

Access to a transcript of the Putin call was similarly restricted, a former Trump administration official says. Meanwhile, three ex-officials tell the Washington Post Trump's famous meeting with Russian officials at the White House in May 2017, the day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, included a conversation in which Trump told the Russians he wasn't concerned about any interference from Moscow in the 2016 election because the US did the same thing to other countries. That conversation reportedly alarmed White House officials so much that they restricted records of it as well, to "an unusually small number of people," per the Post. It's unclear in any of these cases if the documentation was squirreled away on a classified system reserved for the most sensitive intel, as the memo for the Ukraine call was. (Trump's envoy to Ukraine has stepped down.)

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