Friday, February 10, 2017

More Leaks - This Time Regarding Trump's Call With Russia

Exclusive: In call with Putin, Trump denounced Obama-era nuclear arms treaty - sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In his first call as president with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump denounced a treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States, according to two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official with knowledge of the call.

When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.

Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said. The White House declined to comment. It referred Reuters to the official White House account issued after the Jan. 28 call, which did not mention the discussion about New START.

It has not been previously reported that Trump had conveyed his doubt about New START to Putin in the hour-long call.

New START gives both countries until February 2018 to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades. It also limits deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.

During a debate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump said Russia had "outsmarted" the United States with the treaty, which he called "START-Up." He asserted incorrectly then that it had allowed Russia to continue to produce nuclear warheads while the United States could not.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he supported the treaty during his Senate confirmation hearings. During the hearings Tillerson said it was important for the United States to "stay engaged with Russia, hold them accountable to commitments made under the New START and also ensure our accountability as well."

(Excerpt) Read more at yahoo.com ...

Here we go again with the leaks:

When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.

First of all, Trump, despite getting a fact wrong about it, knew what it was -obviously or he wouldn't have mentioned in in the debate.  We don't know exactly what question he asked his aides (it may have been a question about it), but we do know that these sources leaking confidential info don't have Trump's best interest at heart, so they could be lying. 

Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said. The White House declined to comment. It referred Reuters to the official White House account issued after the Jan. 28 call, which did not mention the discussion about New START.

They say he brought up is popularity.  We know from other leaks, like the call with New Zealand's leader, that Trump likes to develop a repertoire with these people and discuss some light hearted things.  He may have tossed in a couple sentences about his popularity, and these "leakers" try to make it look like it dominated the conversation.

Two of the people who described the conversation were briefed by current administration officials who read detailed notes taken during the call. One of the two was shown portions of the notes. A third source was also briefed on the call.

So this has to narrow things down.  How many people were briefed on this call by the administration.  One actually saw portions of the notes.  We have several options here:

1.  It's a high level inner circle member (I don't think so.)
2.  It's White House staffers that aren't in the inner circle but are a level below it.  It would not be shocking to think that some #NeverTrump folks wormed their way in and are trying to destroy him.  Roger Stone has said this.
3.  It's someone who was briefed at either the state department, defense, or intelligence agencies as the following:

Typically, before a telephone call with a foreign leader, a president receives a written in-depth briefing paper drafted by National Security Council staff after consultations with the relevant agencies, including the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence agencies, two former senior officials said.

Just before the call, the president also usually receives an oral "pre-briefing" from his national security adviser and top subject-matter aide, they said.

Trump did not receive a briefing from Russia experts with the NSC and intelligence agencies before the Putin call, two of the sources said. Reuters was unable to determine if Trump received a briefing from his national security adviser Michael Flynn.

It's VERY important for Trump to get rid of these leakers and do it fast!  He can't keep having details of his calls going out into the press.  Foreign leaders won't want to deal with the U.S. if our people are leaking what they are discussing in calls.
It has not been previously reported that Trump had conveyed his doubt about New START to Putin in the hour-long call.
New START gives both countries until February 2018 to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades. It also limits deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.
During a debate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump said Russia had "outsmarted" the United States with the treaty, which he called "START-Up." He asserted incorrectly then that it had allowed Russia to continue to produce nuclear warheads while the United States could not.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he supported the treaty during his Senate confirmation hearings. During the hearings Tillerson said it was important for the United States to "stay engaged with Russia, hold them accountable to commitments made under the New START and also ensure our accountability as well."

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