Notes taken during the May 10, 2017 meeting between Trump and the Russian Ambassador to the United States may exist, and may show that Trump said he was fine with their election interference

On May 9, 2017, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the man who, up to that point, had been leading the investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election. Trump, the very next day, welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Putin’s Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak into the White House for a meeting that the administration had ostensibly hoped to keep quiet. Thankfully, though, the Russians took photos… and then proceeded to share them on social media. [That’s one of their photos at the top of the page.] Here, with more on that, is an excerpt from something that I’d posted at the time.

…Trump must be trolling us, right? I mean who in their right fucking mind, on the day immediately after he fires the man heading the investigation into whether or not his campaign team colluded with the Russians to steal an election, not only invites into the White House the very Russian Ambassador who’s widely thought to have helped orchestrate the whole thing, but bans the American press, allowing in only Russian news agencies? I mean, this is the very same guy, Sergey Kislyak, that Michael Flynn was fired for having lied about having talked with during the campaign. This is the guy who many think coordinated the whole “we’ll hack the election if you lift the sanctions” deal at the heart of this whole fucking thing. And Trump invites him into the White House on the day after he fires FBI Director Comey in hopes of killing the investigation. It’s absolutely insane. This would be like if Obama, at the height of the Tea Party madness, joined the Black Panther Party, donned a dashiki, released his Kenyan birth certificate, and started to speak exclusively in Bantu… I can’t help but think that Trump is doing everything in his fucking power to get himself thrown out of office, but that, despite his best efforts, the Republicans in Congress, after twenty some years of intellectual rot, can’t appreciate just how absolutely insane all of this is. I mean, could that be possible? Could all of this is just a desperate cry for help? Or is Trump just trying to fuck with us, attempting to suck the very last gasp of life out of the resistance by demonstrating that, whatever he does, no matter how heinous, there will be no consequences? Was this Trump’s end zone dance on the throat of the American democracy?…

Well, as you might recall, shortly after news of this meeting broke, word came out that, during their discussion, Trump had shared highly classified intelligence with the Russian delegation. Here’s another excerpt from something that I posted at the time.

…Not only did Trump invite Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Putin’s Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak into the White House the day after firing James Comey, the man responsible for directing the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians to sway the outcome of our last presidential election, but, now, according to the Washington Post, we’re learning that, during that meeting, Trump passed “highly classified information” along to the Lavrov and Kislyak that could jeopardize both our international intelligence relationships and our campaign against ISIS.

….So here’s the question of the day. How can a party that took the White Hosue by railing against the email security of Secretary Clinton, suggesting that her lax server oversight could result in sensitive intelligence falling into the hands of our enemies, possibly withstand the news, which, by the way, has now been corroborated by Reuters, that Trump straight-up passed along classified information to Lavrov and Kislyak, jeopardizing our campaign against ISIS, as well as our relationship with a valued ally. [Is it any wonder why, as the Wall Street Journal reported back in February, that intelligence professionals have been keeping sensitive information from the Trump administration?] And, to make maters even worse, it would appear that Trump didn’t even share the information in the context of a meaningful conversation about ISIS. If the news accounts are to be believed, he just threw this piece of sensitive intelligence data out as an illustration of how awesome our intelligence gathering capabilities are. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” he reportedly said to the Russian delegation right before launching into the specifics about the ISIS plot uncovered by a foreign intelligence partner. He essentially gave up the identity of a foreign asset in or to impress the Russians..

And, right after that hit the news, as you might also recall, the administration put White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster in front of reporters to say that the story, as reported, was false. “The President did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known,” he said, adding that the conversation was, “wholly appropriate.”

Well, guess what? It looks now as though it might not have been “wholly appropriate” after all. In the wake of the revelation a few days ago that the Trump administration maintains a private server where notes on the President’s conversations with world leaders are hidden away from members of the intelligence community, people with knowledge of this May 10, 2017 meeting at the White House, have begun to suggest that memos exist which make it clear that Donald Trump not only handed over classified information, but told the Russians that he was OK with their election interference. The following is from today’s Washington Post.

…President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries, an assertion that prompted alarmed White House officials to limit access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people, according to three former officials with knowledge of the matter.

The comments, which have not been previously reported, were part of a now-infamous meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in which Trump revealed highly classified information that exposed a source of intelligence on the Islamic State. He also said during the meeting that firing FBI Director James B. Comey the previous day had relieved “great pressure” on him.

A memorandum summarizing the meeting was limited to a few officials with the highest security clearances in an attempt to keep the president’s comments from being disclosed publicly, according to the former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters…

For what it’s worth, when Trump brought the Russians into he White House to tell them that he was unconcerned about their election interference, and essentially giving them the go-ahead to keep at it, he already knew the extent of what they’d done. Some five months prior to that meeting, in January, 2017, the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency issued a joint report stating that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” and that he did so in order to help elect Trump. And nothing has happened since to alter that unanimous assessment of our intelligence agencies. [The Mueller report begins with the following. “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” it says.]

It’s also worth nothing that Trump’s apparent comment on May 10, 2017 to Lavrov and Kislyak runs contrary to his public statements on the 2016 election. I guess we’ll have to wait and see the notes from the White House server, but it would sound as though Trump told Lavrov and Kislyak that he knew what they had done, and was fine with in. In public, however, Trump has maintained that he believes Putin when he says that Russia had nothing whatsoever to do with our 2016 election interference. Here’s one of my favorite Trump quotes. It comes from his Helsinki press conference alongside Putin in July, 2018. “My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, and some others, (and) they said they think it’s Russia,” he told the press. “I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.

I could go on, but you get why this is important, right? The day after he fired Mueller, Donald Trump snuck the Russians into the White House, and told them that he’d fired the Director of the FBI, and that he was OK with what they’d done. Then, the recorded comments of the meeting were hidden from view of the our national security agencies. It may not technically be treason, as we weren’t officially “at war” with Russia at the time, but it comes pretty damn close.

Oh, and it’s being reported tonight that the Trump administration, given all of this news, is… you guessed itreviving the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account. [If you can believe it, they’ve apparently retroactively classified emails shared by Clinton and others so that they can pursue then in court.]

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45 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Going after Clinton’s emails again after 11 investigations turned up nothing. Is that all they have left? #pathetic

  2. EOS
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I can’t recall another time where US intelligence agencies leaked fragments of a president’s personal conversations. They are pulling out all stops to discredit Trump prior to the upcoming indictments. When persons involved with the former administration start getting charged, Mark will be posting new outrage claiming it is retaliation by Trump. But just because the Dems are preemptively throwing mud and hoping something sticks, it will not deter the criminal prosecutions of individuals who have been methodically investigated for the past 3 years.

    That Trump can share specific classified information with selected allies is not at all equivalent to Clinton posting a large number of classified documents in yahoo email accounts making it easy for a myriad of simple hackers to download. Comet and Clapper will soon get their just desserts.

  3. EOS
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Comey

  4. iRobert
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I sure hope these indictments are unsealed before we all die of old age.

  5. iRobert
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Giuliani says he’s willing to testify before Congress in their impeachment hearings.

  6. iRobert
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Giuliani in on ABC’s This Week program this morning.

  7. iRobert
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Now Giuliani is telling George Stephanopoulos he won’t testify if Schiff remains as chairman of the house intelligence committee. But then he said he would if Trump told him to do it. Giuliani was wonderfully entertaining as always.

  8. iRobert
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Now Schiff is on next with Stephanopoulos.

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    I have been looking at a bunch of the old Nixon tapes from during the investigation. (I get worked up in times like this and historical perspective proves useful.) I find Fred Thompson’s evolution from institutionalist to, under pressure, party hack and then, after Nixon’s resignation, back to self-congratulatory institutionalist fascinating.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CWaUM3kxfA&t=39s

    I’m way off point. But what is clear is that Republicans see loyalty to the party as the central obligation over any individual sense of right and wrong. I think that tension exists for Dems too but there’s more acceptance of a plurality of view points. At any rate, I think we see that conservative inclination perfectly expressed among conservatives here– many of whom, I know, identify as independents not Republicans. I find that ironic.

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    EOS– making predictions is a really bad idea. You and HW are so deep into it, you better hope something turns up from those sealed indictments. Relying on statements of certainty about political outcomes is unwise. I’ve done it too and with a lot more to base those predictions on. And I was handed my ass. It’s best to hold back.

  11. iRobert
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Fred Thompson was a great actor.

  12. iRobert
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I predict very few, if any, indictments are ever unsealed.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Oh! Even more historical context via twitter. I admit to having felt confused by my impressions of Bill Barr and the public accolades about him when he was put in to the AG office. Turnout he’s been a Republican Party hack arguing for unfettered US and executive power for a long time. He’s not an institutionalist; he just poses as one. See Fred Thompson.

    https://www.villagevoice.com/2019/04/18/attorney-general-william-barr-is-the-best-reason-to-vote-for-clinton/

  14. dogmatic dolt
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Aloha iRobert, I thought Thompson was a much better politician than an actor–he only seemed to able to do one type of character as an actor. As a politician though he could play almost any side of a political debate.

    The growth of sealed indictments I believe has to do with the interplay between administrative law and criminal law. The deportations of individuals who have illegally entered the country is a criminal matter. Specific deadlines of bringing charges within so many days of arrest are part of our due process rights. Asylum seekers are involved in a separate administrative legal proceeding, with deadlines and due process rights totally divorced from the criminal proceedings. If granted Asylum–you are not guilty of a crime, and the indictment goes away. The reasoning for secrecy are to protect the rights of those who are granted asylum–being indicted for a crime never goes away. Those denied asylum now can be sanctioned criminally. If they self-deport, or voluntarily leave no need to proceed with the criminal indictment. Just a theory, but I think one that is closer to reality than the Qanon theory.

    Barr has been tied to the ruling elite since he joined the Company (CIA) back in 1971. It was Papa Bush that brought Barr into the Justice Department in 89. What is that old adage about joining the Company? Once a member, always a member I think.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    DD– I have heard the same theory about sealed indictments, from immigration lawyers. I don’t think it’s without merit. I find it amusing that HW and EOS pin so much hope on them without ever considering other possible explanations, including past explanations for sealed indictments other than a massive sting operation, perpetrated by the FBI on the FBI.

    They must watch to many thrillers. The mundane explanation is usually the accurate one.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    It’s very clever however for Q to pin so much on the opening of indictments that are never likely to happen. As it is he already has established enough distrust in the intelligence agencies (harnessing legitimate fear/criticism) to make deep state explanations plausible to his audience for any failing of his predictions.

    So his audience is left desperate but hopeful which is a classic strategy for megalomaniacs. Of course Trump, who has a similar need, is going to piggyback on the movement. It only serves his ego, his self-dealing and his need to re-direct when every heat comes his way.

  17. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    “never likely to happen”

    Nice opinion/prediction there. You better hope it’s true. Otherwise your whole world comes crashing down and then you know what you have to do.

  18. Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

  19. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Voter ID will arrive when widespread dem election fraud is exposed. Coming soon

  20. John Brown
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Ruskie. Stooge.

  21. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    How would it benefit Russia to stop election fraud? I hope for your sake you don’t say that with a straight face. Seems like you just want to attack people who proved you wrong because you are psychotic over Trump.

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    HW— fascinating exploration of the Qanon conspiracy theory evolution on the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal podcast just now. Worth listening to for anyone interested in the cult HW subscribes to because he is ‘idependebt minded’ and ‘does his own research.’

  23. Jean Henry
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    HW posits false accusation plus related prediction and then attacks ppl for suggesting he’s repeating disinformation. They’ve actually traced these stories, like Hunter Biden and the Ukraine, to Russia.

    http://on.theatln.tc/kgbxe89

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    From July:
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/07/08/will-hunter-biden-jeopardize-his-fathers-campaign

  25. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I do in fact research what I talk about, unlike you who has never read a Q post in your life but want to influence other people’s thinking on it, you idependebtly-minded one, you. You talk about a lot of things you don’t research first and they all turn out wrong. How do you not learn over time?

    How do you trace true occurrences in Ukraine to Russia? Hunter the crackhead got paid for doing what in the Ukraine energy industry exactly? Then Poppa Joe said they had to do what he said or no billion dollars. These are not controversial facts as far as I know. Do you dispute?

  26. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Nice!

    …Poppa Joe just smiles politely
    With the money he takes he might be
    Very rich one day as he hears them say…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV0ujTVD9kI

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    How can you even criticize biden level self-dealing relative to the pass you give Trump and family on their’s ?

    Your double standard is showing again HW.

    Your false equivalency too.

  28. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Such as what? What you call self-dealing by Biden could be treason. Don’t forget Hunter’s China deal for 1.5 billion hasn’t even blown up yet and that dwarfs his Ukraine deal.

  29. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Little bit of…quid pro quo there you or do think Chinese investors could possibly see Mr. Dishonorable Discharge For Drugs as a smart choice to invest in?

  30. Sad
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Man Hunter really cashed in.

    If his dad gets elected President it will be his big payday. The way he squeezed cash out his dad being vice president just imagine what he could do with a presidential Pop?

  31. Jean Henry
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    HW — you are pathetic. Don Trump JR and Ivanka have jobs that never existed and an office in the west wing. Kushner too. The dollars flowing to Trumps resorts and hotels are well documented.

    The Biden thing has been reviewed and closed by one justice dept official then reViewed and not reopened by another in the Trump justice dept. it’s over and it’s not treasonous. It’s gross but not treason.

    Your hyperbolic language re Biden and family exists in stark contrast to the pass you give Trump and family.

    Please read the articles I linked. You are badly under informed.

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/opinion/trump-administration-corruption-conflicts.amp.html

  33. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I think it is pathetic to call people pathetic when you can’t answer them. Hunter and Poppa are in a world of shit but the Trumps are fine.

    https://www.biography.com/us-president/donald-trump

    Trump’s sons — Donald Jr. and Eric— work as executive vice presidents for The Trump Organization. They took over the family business while their father serves as president.

    Trump’s daughter Ivanka was also an executive vice president of The Trump Organization. She left the business and her own fashion label to join her father’s administration and become an unpaid assistant to the president. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is also a senior adviser to President Trump.

  34. EOS
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Did Donald Jr. or Eric ever fly on Air Force One with their Dad in order to solicit 1.5 billion dollars of business in a quid pro quo arrangement with their Dad supplying promises of foreign aid ?

  35. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Y-y-yeah? Wull did Donald Trump ever do anything as badass as talking shit to Corn Pop at the pool??? Hm?

  36. iRobert
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    If the Bidens broke laws, they should be investigated and prosecuted by the appropriate legal authorities. What is the current status of that?

    Is Trump going to conduct the investigation with his three private lawyers instead?

  37. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    He asked him to talk to Barr.

  38. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Biden is bad as shit. He said his boss was correct to make him take a six foot chain and confront Corn Pop and his three thugs wielding rusty straight razors. “You might cut me but I’ma take this chain and wrap it around your head!” We need a real life action hero like Joe Biden as President of the USA that is not afraid to stand up to any challenge in this world.

  39. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Is it not 100% reasonable for Trump to want his personal lawyer to gather information about the origins of Russiagate that are rooted in the dealings of actors in Ukraine? Is it not 100% reasonable that the USA would want to get to the bottom of the Ukrainian origins of a two year investigation into collusion which showed no collusion? Is it not 100% reasonable for the Ukraine and USA to cooperate in investigations given we have a treaty mandating such cooperation?

  40. dogmatic dolt
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Aloha FF,”Is it not 100% reasonable for Trump to want his personal lawyer to gather information about the origins of Russiagate that are rooted in the dealings of actors in Ukraine?”
    NO. His personal defense lawyer has no business conducting an official inquiry for the US Government. Barr appropriate–Ruddi, no way. Ruddi is not an employee of the United States and is not subject to anything but the attorney client relationship between himself and Trump. In no way shape or form is anything Ruddi doing appropriate as part of any Government investigation. Having your defense attorney snoop around to see what kinda dirt might help in your defense–SOP.

    Asking the Ukraine President in the course of an official phone call to meat with my private defense attorney—come now FF you don’t see the problems?

  41. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Was Guiliani being sent to conduct “an official inquiry for the US government”? I don’t know that is true do you?

    Is it unreasonable for Giulianni to talk with Ukraine officials if it was regarding Trump’s possible legal defense? What makes you think it is snooping around for dirt? Maybe he is for the benefit of his client asking for an investigation for some truth to be revealed?

    It is a weird bind where people on the left are claiming some sort of immunity against investigations to the presidents opponents and simultaneously claiming that if the president attempts to defend himself he is guilty of election interference.

    There are multiple scenarios where Giuliani and Trump might have done something wrong. Do we have any proof of any of those scenarios actually having occurred?

  42. dogmatic dolt
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Aloha FF, I am beginning to think Rudi might be this generations Magruder. It started with Dean but it was really Magruder who sent Nixon down.

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/giuliani-cannot-rely-attorney-client-privilege-avoid-congressional-testimony

  43. dogmatic dolt
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Aloha FF, did I just see Ruddi and his associates getting their tickets to the impeachment hearings? Notice how they are to his associates–they are not working for the Government, they are working for Trump—get the difference?

    https://twitter.com/AaronBlake?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1178759410996453378&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.democraticunderground.com%2F100212527066

    You can not use your official position to conduct your private personal affairs. That is illegal. That is the essence of corruption. Just how ignorant of what constitutes acceptable behavior by a public official. The Mayor of Ypsilanti was rode out of office just on the possible perception of this form use of public office for personal reasons.

  44. dogmatic dolt
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Aloha FF, did I just see Ruddi and his associates getting their tickets to the impeachment hearings? Notice how they are to his associates–they are not working for the Government, they are working for Trump—get the difference?

    https://twitter.com/AaronBlake?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1178759410996453378&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.democraticunderground.com%2F100212527066

    You can not use your official position to conduct your private personal affairs. That is illegal. That is the essence of corruption. Just how ignorant of what constitutes acceptable behavior by a public official. The Mayor of Ypsilanti was rode out of office just on the possible perception of this form use of public office for personal reasons.

    The essence of corruption is inter-mixing my personal life into my official life. Trump’s refusal to separate himself from his corporations upon becoming President made something like this inevitable. How many times has he used the Office to promote his personal properties—banned by the Constitution—only our weak kneeded Congress and Republican enablers in the Senate made that possible. Go after one of the club and you have gone to far.

  45. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I wonder how all those NYC concertgoers felt about this. How many have a different perspective today? ‘Massive’ Q at Radio City Music Hall

    https://twitter.com/vickigp1/status/1178678228640309248?s=21

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