In light of the torrent of revelations this week that showed that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence operation into whether Donald Trump was compromised by Russia, and the fact that Trump asked his interpreter to conceal the notes of his conversation with Vladimir Putin even from members of his own administration after a meeting with the Russian president in 2017, national security expert Samantha Vinograd said she is in no doubt that Trump was “aiding and abetting” Russian intelligence, according to Newsweek.
Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that Trump had gone to “extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations” with Putin.
“U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years,” the Post reported.
Discussing the report, Vinograd, who served as a national security expert in the administration of Barack Obama, told CNN’s New Day that special counsel Robert Mueller must be paying close attention to the developments.
“There is a standard operating procedure for these meetings,” Vinograd said, recalling some of her own experiences.
“I helped with some of these meetings after the fact. By failing to allow your team in the room, by failing to establish a firm record in line with existing U.S. law of what actually happened, you are ceding the narrative to Russian intelligence and Vladimir Putin without having any bit of evidence or a foundation of establishing a narrative on your own.”
“If [Trump] took the extraordinary step of asking his interpreter to destroy notes from the meeting, he is again aiding and abetting the Russian intelligence services in manipulating the narrative around what happened.”
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 14, 2019
This week, the New York Times also reported that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation — a first of its kind against a sitting president — soon after Trump fired Comey in 2017. The agency sought to find out if whether Trump was an agent for the Russian Federation. The U.S. intelligence community was concerned that Trump might have been directly or indirectly compromised by Russia. This revelation led to one of the most shocking moments on cable news when the U.S. president was asked if he had been working for Russia by Fox News‘ Judge Jeanine Pirro.
While Trump didn’t directly answer that question, he lashed out at the Times for publishing “most insulting article I’ve ever had written.”
The clamor surrounding Washington will only get louder in the coming days, and unless Trump figures out a plan to steer his administration in the right direction, this week’s findings could come back to haunt him in the near future.