Putin Spokesman Hopes the White House Won’t Publish Private Conversations with Trump

HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to waiting media during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. The two leaders met one-on-one and discussed a range of issues including the 2016 U.S Election collusion.

Amid the outcry over President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the White House decided to release a five-page memo of the call ahead of the public release of a whistleblower complaint about it. Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, is now hoping that the White House doesn’t decide down the line to do the same with a Trump-Putin conversation.

“We would like to hope that it wouldn’t come to that in our relations, which are already troubled by a lot of problems,” the Kremlin press secretary said Friday, per the Associated Press.

Other transcriptions of the remarks differed slightly, and were more complete.

“As a rule, the materials of such conversations at the level of heads of state are classified as either ‘secret’ or ‘top secret.’ This common world practice and, as a rule, of course, this is not published,” Peskov said. “In any case, with Ukraine this [publication of the transcript was made by mutual agreement.”

“Of course, we would like to hope that in our bilateral relations, where there are already a lot of problems, very serious, we won’t get to such situations,” Peskov continued.

Some took Peskov’s comment as a “warning” in line with a perceived “warning” Trump sent on Thursday.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough is clearly referring to Thursday remarks that Trump made. Trump said that he “want[s] to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy.”

“You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now,” he added.

Conspiracy theorizing about Trump-Putin communications only increased in the wake of the whistleblower’s allegations, particularly because of this part of the complaint:

This is a standalone system reserved for codeword-level intelligence information, such as covert action. According to the information I received from White House officials, some officials voice concerns internally internally that this would be an abuse of the system and was not with the responsibilities of the Directorate for Intelligence Programs. According to White House officials I spoke with, this was “not the first time” under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive–rather than national security sensitive–information.

[Image via Chris McGrath/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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