President Donald Trump went through with the Helsinki summit with Putin against the wishes of top Democrats after Mueller’s indictments of 12 Russian officials. After the controversial summit, Trump invited Putin to the White House for a second meeting. This sparked a new round of speculation and confusion among politicians and Americans about Trump’s motives.
And for MSNBC‘s Jeremy Bash, there’s only one answer that makes sense. He said that he believes Trump has entered into a secret deal with Putin, and elaborated on his thought process.
“I call it a secret deal, because even the Director of National Intelligence, the person from whom no secrets are kept, doesn’t know what the anticipated agenda of the summit was, what in fact the content of the two-hour private summit was, and the fact that there will be a follow-on summit. If your own Director of National Intelligence doesn’t know, it is by definition a secret deal.”
The fact that U.S. intelligence chief Dan Coats didn’t know what was discussed during the Helsinki summit was revealed during the Aspen Forum, according to CNBC. Coats told the audience that he was “unaware” of what was discussed. Whether on purpose or by pure coincidence, it was around this time that press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that the president was starting to plan a second meeting with Putin, this time at the White House in the fall.
Trump later noted that the second meeting at the White House would be to “start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more.”
Once Coats heard about it in real-time, he said “Say that again?” after which he said, “Okay… That’s gonna be special.”
Since then, Coats has apologized for his seemingly “awkward” response, and said that he wasn’t trying to disrespect Trump. He clarified his support for the president in a statement.
“I and the entire intel community are committed to providing the best possible intelligence to inform and support President Trump’s ongoing efforts to prevent Russian meddling in our upcoming elections, to build strong relationships internationally in order to maintain peace, denuclearize dangerous regimes and protect our nation and our allies.”
The Helsinki meeting was indeed very private, with no stenographer or aides.
“If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted, I would have suggested a different way, but that’s not my role… It is what it is,” Dan Coats said.
— The Hill (@thehill) July 22, 2018
For now, the public is still not sure of the exact details of the summits, or what, if anything, Trump agreed to with Putin. On the Russian side, Putin noted that the meeting “led to some useful agreements.” Putin also defended their summit, saying that the two leaders were working to improve political relations between the two countries, reported the Independent.
Meanwhile, the probe into the Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election is ongoing.
Rep. Schiff tells @gstephanopoulos Pres. Trump is "acting like someone who's compromised" by Putin.
"It may very well be that he is compromised or it may very well be that he believes that he's compromised, that the Russians have information on him." https://t.co/srTyR5WvPH pic.twitter.com/4cFj8ZhxSt
— ABC News (@ABC) July 22, 2018