Trump’s Notes From Putin Meeting Missing – State Dept Sued

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Donald Trump goes to great lengths to hide information. His former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen brought records to court showing that Trump directed him to threaten his alma mater in order to keep his school records private and he continues to fight a legal battle to avoid making his tax returns public.

As a presidential candidate, those are shady practices. As a president of the United States, hiding unflattering information is actually illegal. Trump is learning this now as his State Department faces a lawsuit from a nonprofit watchdog group who says that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo broke the law by allowing Trump to seize records of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a private G20 meeting in 2017.

TIME reports that:

‘The lawsuit filed by American Oversight and Democracy Forward, two progressive non-profit government watchdog organizations, says that the Federal Records Act requires Pompeo to preserve the meeting notes prepared by State Department employees.’

This isn’t the first time Trump has been called out for illegally seizing notes or for preventing record-keeping during his meetings with foreign leaders. During the summit with Putin in Helsinki, during which he sided with Putin over his own intelligence agencies on the 2016 election hacking scandal, Trump refused to allow anyone other than translators to be present, and those translators were sworn to secrecy. If he has nothing to hide, why is he so determined to hide everything?

‘“President Trump has taken unusual, and in some cases extreme, measures to conceal the details of these meetings, not only from the public at large, but also from key members of his administration,” the filing says. As a result, there is a “total absence” of a detailed record of Trump’s five in-person interactions with Putin over the last two years, even in classified files, the filing says.’

Additionally, Trump’s administration has kept communications with other world leaders, such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, from being recorded. Although it’s Pompeo who is responsible for ensuring that records exist and are preserved, it is reportedly the president who so blatantly breaks the law as to seize records and prevent anyone from knowing what took place during these meetings.

‘While the lawsuit alleges that Pompeo repeatedly failed to document the president’s meetings with Putin, it focuses on Trump’s actions at the G20 in Hamburg in July 2017, where he met with the Russian president for two hours with no aides present. Trump “took possession of written notes documenting the meeting from the official who created them” and instructed them not to discuss what was said at the meeting with other members of his administration, the filing says, citing details first reported by the Washington Post.’

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