Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Former Deputy Secretary of State: Trump's secrecy on Putin meetings 'outrageous'

Former Deputy Secretary of State: Trump's secrecy on Putin meetings 'outrageous'

But the White House, and Trump himself, disagree. An FBI investigation was launched in May 2017.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was Central Intelligence Agency director at the time the investigation was launched, declined to comment on the New York Times report, but insisted in an interview with CBS that "the notion that President Trump is a threat to American national security is absolutely ludicrous".

FBI agents and senior officials began to suspect connections between Trump and Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign but pushed off an investigation partially because they were unsure how to execute such a massive and sensitive operation, sources told the Times.

President Donald Trump has avoided giving a direct answer when asked if he now is or has ever worked for Russian Federation after a published report said his behavior gave federal law enforcement officials reason to begin investigating whether he had worked for the USA adversary.

The case was then referred to special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into whether Russian agents interfered with the 2016 election, the Times reported, adding that it is not clear whether the special counsel has continued that part of the investigation. The overall investigation is looking into Russian election interference and whether Trump's campaign coordinated with the Russians, as well as possible obstruction of justice by Trump. The Times reported Mueller also took over the counterintelligence investigation, but the paper said it is unclear whether that aspect of his investigation is ongoing.

Current and former USA officials told the Post that after a 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany, Trump took his interpreter's notes and told her not to speak of details of the meeting with other administration officials. The report cited unnamed current and former US officials.

"I'm not keeping anything under wraps", Mr Trump told Fox News while referring to the latest report. "Anybody could have listened to that meeting, that meeting is up for grabs".

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"When he takes the interpreter's notes and wants to destroy them so no one can see what was raises serious questions about the relationship between this president and Putin", the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, said on ABC's "This Week".

Ratcliffe said he was aware of the Baker revelations in October, and House Republicans had been working through proper channels to make the entire transcript public. "If this really did happen, Congress needs to know about it and what I want to do is make sure how could the Federal Bureau of Investigation do that?"

Trump has also repeatedly and vociferously denied collusion with the Russians.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has defended the decision, saying the companies are undergoing a major restructuring to "sever Deripaska's control and significantly diminish his ownership".

Schumer, however, contends the Russian oligarch maintains significant influence on these companies, including the aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal.

These include his former national security adviser Michael Flynn; former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort; and Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

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