Fake News exposed AGAIN!
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The “Trump Hid His Meetings with Putin” Stories Begin to Unravel
By Fred Fleitz
January 15, 2019
Over the weekend the mainstream media launched a new ploy to promote their Trump-Russia collusion narrative with a story that first appeared in the Washington Post titled “Officials in dark on Putin talks.” A similar piece was published in the Wall Street Journal today, “Trump didn’t use notetakers at Putin/ Meeting.” Cable News networks and Democratic congressmen claimed these stories indicated that President Trump held secret discussions with Russian President Putin that were revealed to no one. For example, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) told CNN on Sunday that the U.S. government ‘does not know’ what Trump and Putin discussed.
These stories were misleading, if not mostly false. First, they neglected to mention that the President’s decision to restrict access to read-outs of his one-on-one meetings with Putin were due to the extraordinary number of leaks to the press of his phone calls and meetings with foreign officials at the beginning of his presidency.
Second, it is untrue that senior officials are unaware of what was discussed in President Trump’s meetings with Putin.
Concerning Trump’s first meeting with Putin in 2017, although a notetaker reportedly was not present and Mr. Trump allegedly took possession of his interpreter’s notes, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attended this meeting and provided a detailed read-out to senior U.S. officials. It is clear that the unnamed officials cited in the Washington Post piece on the 2017 Trump-Putin meeting were irritated they were not provided with copies of Tillerson’s read-out of the meeting, not that there wasn’t a read-out. It also is ridiculous for the press to assert that President Trump said something nefarious to Putin with Tillerson present.
Concerning President Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Putin in Helsinki last July, I can attest as former National Security Council Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff that senior U.S. officials – including myself – knew everything that was discussed. Again, the real issue here is that some U.S. officials are irritated they were excluded from read-outs of this meeting and voiced their frustrations to the press.
The media’s claim that this story amounts to a U.S. president concealing his secret discussions with the Russian president as part of his alleged collusion with Russia is fake news. Senior U.S. officials knew exactly what was discussed in these meetings. This story is really about a successful effort by President Trump to prevent anti-Trump government officials from leaking sensitive national security information to the press.
Good job President Trump!
About Fred Fleitz
Fred Fleitz is President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy. He recently served as a Deputy Assistant to President Trump and Chief of Staff to National Security Adviser John Bolton. He previously worked in national security positions for 25 years with CIA, DIA, the Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff. Read his complete bio here. Follow Fleitz on Twitter @fredfleitz.
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The Center for Security Policy was founded in July 1988 by 30 national security policy practitioners united by an overarching goal – to perpetuate the time-tested policy Ronald Reagan used to such transformative effect during his presidency: “Peace through Strength.” Led by Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan Defense Department official and aide to Senators Henry “Scoop” Jackson and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Tower, they founded an non-partisan, educational public policy organization with a single, overarching mission: secure freedom.
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