15 June 2019 — Moon of Alabama
Slate’s Fred Kaplan writes:
The Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported Sunday that President Donald Trump’s confiscation of the translator’s notes from a one-on-one conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2017 was “unusual.” This is incorrect. It was unprecedented.
There is nothing like it in the annals of presidential history.
Not really. Other U.S. leaders held long private meetings with their counterparts without notes being taken.
When Richard Nixon met Leonid Brezhnev he did not even bring his own interpreter:
George Szamuely @GeorgeSzamuely –
Nixon would meet Brezhnev alone, the only other person in attendance being Viktor Sukhodrev, the Soviet interpreter. “Our first meeting in the Oval Office was private, except for Viktor Sukhodrev, who, as in 1972, acted as translator.” Nixon on Brezhnev’s 1973 visit. RN, p.878 . Therefore, the only “notes” that would exist would be those of the Soviet interpreter. Not sure he would have time to make notes and translate and, even if he did so, whether those notes would be housed in any US archive.
Nixon’s White House office was bugged. There are probably tape recordings of the talks. There might also be recordings of the Trump-Putin talks.
At their 1986 Reykjavik summit Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev talked without their notetakers:
Mr. Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev began their second day of talks with a private meeting that had been scheduled to last 15 minutes but ran for nearly 70 minutes, with only interpreters present. They met in a small room in the Soviet Mission, with the Soviet leader seated in a small armchair and Mr. Reagan on a sofa.
In the afternoon, they meet alone for a little over 20 minutes and then again for 90 minutes. All told, the two leaders have spent 4 hours and 51 minutes alone, except for interpreters, over the two days here.
The archives of the Reykjavik talks do not include any notes of those private talks.
But, who knows, maybe Nixon and Reagan where also on the Russian payroll, just like Donald Trump is today.
Only that Trump is controlled by Putin can explain why the FBI opened a counter-intelligence investigation against Trump (see section three).
That the FBI agents involved in the decision were avid haters of Russia and of Trump has surely nothing to do with it. That the opening of a counter-intelligence investigation gave them the legal ability under Obama’s EO12333 to use NSA signal intelligence against Trump is surely irrelevant.
What the FBI people really were concerned about is Trump’s public record of favoring Russia at each and every corner. Trump obviously wants better diplomatic relations with Russia. He is reluctant to counter its military might. He is doing his best to make it richer. Just consider the headlines below. With all those good things Trump did for Putin, intense suspicions of Russian influence over him is surely justified.
Trump launches attack on Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles – CNBC, April 6 2017
Trump to promote U.S. natgas exports in Russia’s backyard – Reuters, Jul 3 2017
Trump Urges East Europe to Loosen Russia’s Grip With U.S. Gas – Bloomberg, Jul 6 2017
Trump signs bill approving new sanctions against Russia – CNN, Aug 3, 2017
Trump gives green light to selling lethal arms to Ukraine – The Hill, Dec 20 2017
Trump says Russia is helping North Korea avoid sanctions – CBSNews, Jan 17 2018
Trump looks to deter Russia, China with $686B ask for Pentagon – The Hill, Feb 12 2018
American General In Syria Confirms US Forces Killed Hundreds Of Russians In Massive Battle – The Drive, Mar 16 2018
Trump orders expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, closure of Seattle consulate – CBS, Mar 26 2018
Trump vows periodical dispatch of US troops to Baltic states, step up air defense – Lithuania Tribune, Apr 3 2018
Trump opposes Nord Stream II, questions Germany – AA, Apr 4, 2018
Trump just hit Russian oligarchs with the most aggressive sanctions yet – Vice, Apr 6, 2018
Trump orders missile strike on Syria military targets – CBSNews, Apr 9 2018
Aluminum Stocks Jump As Trump Sanctions Target Putin Pal – Investors, Apr 9 2018
Russia ‘deeply disappointed’ at Trump’s withdrawal from Iran deal – Times of Israel, May 9 2018
Trump to NATO allies: Raise military spending to 4 percent of GDP – AlJazeerah, Jul 12 2018
Trump says U.S. ties to NATO ‘very strong’ – Politico, Jul 12, 2018
U.S. to sanction Turkey for receiving S-400 missiles – Ahval, Jul 27, 2018
Trump administration to hit Russia with new sanctions for Skripal poisoning – NBC News Aug, 8 2018
Space Force Is Trump’s Answer to New Russian and Chinese Weapons – FP, Aug 10, 2018
US Sanctions Chinese Entity Over Purchase of Russian Fighters, S-400s – Treasury – Sputnik, Sep 20 2018
Trump hints at punitive action against India for buying S-400 from Russia – India Today, Oct 11 2018
Trump Agrees to Boost Pentagon’s Budget to $750 Bln in 2019 – Reports – Sputnik, Oct 12 2018
Trump says US will withdraw from nuclear arms treaty with Russia – Guardian, Oct 21, 2018
When one adds up all those issues one can only find that Trump cares more about Russia, than about the U.S. and its NATO allies. Only with Trump being under Putin’s influence, knowingly or unwittingly, could he end up doing Russia so many favors.