President Donald Trump engaged in an unprecedented – and previously unknown – “flurry of communication” with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a three-week period earlier this year, according to a sister-network of Voice of America.
“On March 30, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by telephone, the first of five calls between the two over a period of three weeks, a flurry of communication unprecedented during Trump’s 3 1/2 years in office,” reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL).
Only one of those five calls, according to research from NCRM, was shared with the press. None were posted to the White House website, a serious deviation from prior practice.
“For many Russia watchers, the flurry of behind-the-scenes phone calls and other communications is a clear indication that something’s going on,” RFERL’s Mike Eckel adds. He notes, “the two countries’ diplomats have spoken at least three times over that same period, which also coincided with an unusual shipment of Russian coronavirus-related humanitarian aid to the United States.”
NCRM reviewed titles of over 800 news briefings on the White House website, where the Press Office used to post details of all telephone calls between the President and foreign leaders, known as “readouts.”
The White House appears to be hiding readouts from calls between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin. In fact, in a serious deviation, there are no readouts of any calls between President Trump and any foreign leader that took place this year, posted to the White House’s website for the public to access.
In late September the Kremlin announced no calls between Trump and Putin could be released to the public without “mutual accord,” another extreme deviation from prior practice. Notably, the Kremlin repeatedly has released readouts of calls and other interactions between Trump and Putin or other Russian leaders when the White House has not, embarrassing the U.S. The American people, for example, only learned of Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, after a Tass photographer who was in the room published the photos.
It is unknown if the White House agreed to Russia’s demand.
Meanwhile, as NCRM has found, the White House gave the press pool readouts from calls between Trump and Putin for December 29 of last year, and March 30, May 7, and June 1 of this year. Only one of those dates, the March 30 call, is from the time period reported.
But Al-Monitor’s Laura Rozen reports Trump and Putin spoke not only March 30 and June 1, but also April 9, April 10, and April 12.
In addition to the fact that Russia attacked the U.S. 2016 election to help elect Trump, the adversarial relationship between the U.S and Russia is at a desperate low, after The New York Times reported Russia is paying the Taliban to kill Americans soldiers in Afghanistan. Other news outlets have confirmed that reporting. The Washington Post reported that “Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops.” Additional reports reveal, despite his denials, President Trump was briefed about the Russian program, yet, in apparent deference to President Putin, took no action, nor has he announced any to date.
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Trump Fights Supreme Court Order on Taxes — Will Try to Block Manhattan District Attorney’s Access to Documents
Attorneys for President Donald Trump have decided to fight the Manhattan District Attorney’s subpoena for his tax returns and financial data in an attempt to “block or at least narrow access to the records,” The New York Times reports.
The move comes despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling less than a week ago in favor of DA Cyrus Vance and against the president.
Buzzfeed’s Zoe Tillman adds, “Trump says he will file an amended complaint raising new legal arguments to challenge the NY grand jury subpoena for his tax returns, in light of the latest SCOTUS decision.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Trump Sues to Block New York From Releasing His Tax Returns
President Donald Trump on Tuesday filed s lawsuit to block the State of New York from releasing his state tax returns. Empire State lawmakers recently passed legislation, signed by the governor, allowing the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any individual’s tax returns to Congress.
The president’s lawsuit names the House Ways and Means Committee, the New York State Attorney General, and a New York State tax official, according to The Hill.
“Because the Committee’s jurisdiction is limited to federal taxes, no legislation could possibly result from a request for the President’s state tax returns. The Committee thus lacks a legitimate legislative purpose for using the TRUST Act,” the lawsuit states. The president’s attorneys have made a similar argument before.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
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