White House concealed transcripts of calls with Putin and Saudi royal family on highly classified system – Washington Examiner
The White House kept transcripts of President Trump’s calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Saudi royal family on a highly classified computer system to keep them from becoming public.
The handling of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders has been highly scrutinized after a whistleblower complaint alleged the president pressured Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. A transcript released by the White House of the call showed Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and his son Hunter.
The White House’s decision to place the transcript of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky on a separate computer system that few had access to was part of a whistleblower complaint about the administration’s interactions with Ukraine.
According to the New York Times, restrictions on some transcripts of Trump’s calls were imposed after leaks of details of his conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked.
The White House implemented tighter restrictions after Trump’s Oval Office discussion with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak leaked to the media, bringing scrutiny over whether Trump had revealed classified information to the Russians.
Current and former officials defended the decision to place the transcripts on a secure system, pointing to the number of leaks from the White House. The Trump administration said Friday that National Security Council lawyers made the decision to place the Ukraine phone call on a classified system.
Russia said Friday it hopes the contents of Putin’s calls with Trump are kept private.
“We would like to hope that we would not see such situations in our bilateral relations, which already have plenty of quite serious problems,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.