What’s the Innocent Explanation for Trump’s Lies About Russia?

What’s the Innocent Explanation for Trump’s Lies About Russia? January 15, 2019

With new revelations that Donald Trump has confiscated notes and told interpreters to hide what was said between him and Putin, on top of all the other lies and secrecy, Neil Katyal, former Solicitor General, says that there simply is no innocent explanation for those actions.

“I can’t imagine an innocent explanation for this,” said Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general. “Whenever I have a sensitive meeting, either when I was in the government or out, I always wanted a witness.”

“Why?” he added. “Because otherwise I would be worried about compromise. I would be worried about the other person in the meeting would say you did X or Y. The only people that don’t have witnesses at their meetings are the guilty.”

This is why such meetings always have, at the very least, note takers present. It provides a witness so that the other side can’t distort what was said or lie about it. And this is hardly the only example of Trump and those around him going to great lengths to avoid having any discussions they’ve had with Russian officials revealed publicly. Remember that during the transition, Jared Kushner had multiple meetings with Russian officials, all of which he conveniently “forgot” to put on his disclosure forms, and at one of them he suggested that they set up a backchannel of communication that would avoid surveillance by the FBI’s counter-intelligence agents or the NSA. He even suggested that they use a secure room at the Russian embassy.

What possible innocent explanation is there for this? I can’t think of one. The only reason they would seek to hide those communications even from our own intelligence agencies, who are tasked precisely with tracking communications with foreign officials, is if the contents of those conversations are, at the very least, a serious problem for them. Perhaps even a criminal one. There is no other possible explanation.


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