Next time Trump and Putin have a call, the Kremlin will report it but the White House might not

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesTrump speaks on the phone with Putin in the White House in January 2017.
  • The White House is halting the long-standing practice of releasing public descriptions, or readouts, of President Donald Trump’s calls with world leaders, CNN reported on Wednesday.
  • It’s not clear yet whether the suspension of this practice is temporary or permanent.
  • Official White House readouts help the president set the record straight about what was said during a call, but Trump has been displeased with transcripts of his calls with world leaders being leaked to the press.

The White House is halting its practice of releasing public summaries, or “readouts” of President Donald Trump’s calls with world leaders, CNN reported on Wednesday.

It’s not certain whether the suspension of releasing readouts, which for decades has been standard bipartisan procedure, is temporary or permanent, CNN said, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

The White House has not released a readout of one of Trump’s calls with another world leader since mid-June, when he phoned Hungarian President Viktor Orbán to congratulate him on his re-election.

Since then, Trump has also reportedly spoken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone.

The ending of releasing readouts comes as Trump faces scrutiny over what was discussed during his closed-door, one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their July 16 summit. Several Democratic members of Congress called for Trump’s translator, the only other American in the room, to be subpoenaed before Congress, which Republicans ultimately rejected.

Last year, Trump reportedly felt “undermined” when transcripts of his calls with the presidents of Mexico and Australia were leaked to The Washington Post, CNN reported. He was also displeased when his national security advisers’ instructions to not congratulate Putin on his re-election leaked to the press last May.

Former foreign policy officials who spoke to CNN said the release of readouts, however – versus leaked full transcripts of calls – actually help the president set the record straight if there’s disagreement between leaders about what exactly was said during a call.

“There is a public interest in knowing who he talked to and what they talked about,” former Obama administration deputy secretary of state Tony Blinken told CNN. “Secondly, these readouts help shape the narrative. If we aren’t doing a readout, but the other country is, their narrative is going to prevail. “

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