January 30, 2019

Menendez on Reports that No US. Officials Were Present for Trump-Putin Discussions at the G-20

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the Financial Times reported on Tuesday that President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit in November 2018 with no U.S. official or translator.  

“This new information about the President’s unprecedented secrecy around his meetings with Putin is deeply disturbing. Does anyone in the U.S. government know what they discussed? Does anyone have notes other than President Putin’s translator?

“Under normal circumstances, a private conversation with a foreign leader may not raise alarm bells. But these are not normal circumstances. If there is nothing untoward about these discussions, we need to know why the President would call off his formal bilateral meeting with Putin only to then have a private conversation with no U.S. officials present.

“I will be following up on my request with Senator Jack Reed for this Administration to ensure the Congress and the American people know what the President spoke about with Putin, as well as a letter from my Senate Foreign Relations Committee colleagues and I pressing Secretary Pompeo to be forthcoming about what the State Department does and does not  know about these discussions. I expect answers to these questions. Our national security interests may be at stake and the American public deserves to know the truth.”

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