Susan Rice, Obama’s National Security Adviser, said it was an “historic mistake” to allow Trump to meet with Putin without note-takers or aides present…
“We need to know everything, and the president’s national security team needs to know everything” about the leaders’ two-hour meeting in Helsinki July 16, Susan Rice, national security adviser to President Barack Obama, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Rice said it was an “historic mistake” to allow Trump — or any U.S. president — to meet with Putin without note-takers or aides present. “We have no idea what transpired,” she said. “The Russians are feeding their line of what happened. “We are hearing no rebuttal or comment from the United States. Russia is dictating the public perception — the global public perception of what transpired in that meeting, and we have no basis for countering it.”
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Thursday that he was unaware of what happened in the Trump-Putin meeting.
Only one other American heard the conversation between Trump and Russia’s president, an interpreter from the U.S. State Department. Republican lawmakers rejected a Democratic proposal to subpoena the translator to testify.
The potential for Trump to host Putin at the White House later this year for a follow-up summit drew bipartisan opposition after last week’s meeting.
While it can be valuable to meet with countries that are adversaries, issuing an invitation is different, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Such invitations should be reserved for U.S. allies such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada “who are with us day in and day out,” he said.
“Russia is not our friend, and tried to attack us,” Gowdy said in reference to Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
He termed evidence of those efforts “overwhelming” and said Trump “needs to say that and act like it.”
Rice said she had no objection to engaging with Russia, including talking with Putin.
Such events can be done discreetly, though, such as in side meetings at multinational gatherings such as the Group of 20, without the “pomp and circumstance” of a summit.
(Ben Brody and Miles Weiss contributed to this report.)
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