Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about President Trump’s recent phone call with Russian President Putin. The Kremlin stated that Trump discussed a face-to-face meeting with Putin during the call, a detail the White House omitted from its public account of the conversation:
“It is outrageous that we have to resort to reports from the Kremlin to get full and accurate information about the substantive points of a diplomatic call. While not always perfect, transparency used to be and should be a hallmark of the American presidency and an example the White House set for the world. Now we have a president who limits access to the press, records of White House visitors, withholds releasable information about diplomatic calls, and praises leaders who are the polar opposite of transparent. In an apparent emulation of those leaders he praises, President Trump is making deals with the Russian president that he will not reveal to the public. We should worry that once you see him do this, it is just the tip of the iceberg, because small omissions lead to big ones.
“It shows that despite the impression created by President Trump's strike on Syria, we have a lot to be worried about and the media's sense of relaxation about this issue, and others, is misguided. It should concern us if President Trump discussed how to create ‘safe zones’ in Syria with the same person who enabled Bashar Al-Assad's use of poison gas on innocent children and does not see a contradiction in that arrangement, nor with the potential pitfalls inherent in trusting someone who has an agenda inimical to American values. This is not an issue we should continue to ignore in the coming months.”