President Barack Obama was on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin when news of the Malaysian Airlines plane crash broke Thursday, but the White House won’t say whether the president learned of the incident from his counterpart in Moscow or by other means.
According to a press pool report by Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin, White House press secretary Joshua Earnest informed reporters travelling with the president in Delaware that “the first public reports of the downed passenger jet were published during the phone call between President Obama and President Putin.”
“As I said earlier, President Putin mentioned those early reports during the call,” Earnest said.
The Kremlin released a readout of the phone call that said Putin “informed” Obama about the crash.
“The Russian leader informed the U.S. president of the report from air traffic controllers that the Malaysian plane had crashed on Ukrainian territory, which had arrived immediately before the phone call,” the readout said.
Business Insider asked Earnest about the Kremlin readout and whether Obama first learned of the crash from Putin. He pointed to his comments in the pool report indicating “the story broke during the call.” Earnest did not respond to subsequent requests specifically asking if Putin told Obama about the crash.
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