By David Thornton
Putin says that he can prove that President Trump did not do anything wrong.
On Wednesday, speaking at a press conference in Sochi, Russia, Putin denied that Trump had shared secrets with the Russian delegation. “I spoke to him [Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov] today,” a smiling Putin said in Reuters. “I’ll be forced to issue him with a reprimand because he did not share these secrets with us. Not with me, nor with representatives of Russia’s intelligence services. It was very bad of him.”
Putin also offered to hand over a Russian transcript of the meeting as evidence to support the American president. According to Kremlin officials, the Russians made a written transcript of the meeting, but did not make an audio recording.
Putin also took the opportunity to criticize the opposition to President Trump as “political schizophrenia.” The “schizophrenia” is a result of what the US intelligence community said was interference in the US presidential election by Russia on behalf of Donald Trump.
“What surprises me is that they are shaking up the domestic political situation using anti-Russian slogans,” Putin continued. “Either they don’t understand the damage they’re doing to their own country, in which case they are simply stupid, or they understand everything, in which case they are dangerous and corrupt.”
Even though President Putin denies that Trump shared classified information, President Trump himself seemed to admit to the breach. In two tweets on Tuesday, the president said, “As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining … to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.” Administration denials do not answer the accusation by the Washington Post that Trump shared information that was so closely held that it was not even given to US allies.
Putin is obviously enjoying the chaos in America immensely.
A Russian goal during the election was to destabilize American democracy and faith in government. Putin seems to be continuing along those lines by stirring the pot with his comments. His offer of a written transcript should not be taken seriously and any transcript he provided would not be reliable.
There is a better solution, however. In a May 12 tweet, President Trump alluded to “tapes” that may exist of his conversations with FBI Director Comey. Since then, former associates have come forward to say that Trump frequently recorded conversations.
An easy solution would be for President Trump to turn over any recordings of the meeting with the Russians to Congress. Let the bipartisan House Intelligence Committee listen to the conversation and determine if the president’s comments were out of line or jeopardized national security.
And, by the way, it would probably be a good idea to turn over the Comey tapes to the House Judiciary Committee as well.