Progressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting

Progressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting
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Two progressive nonprofit organizations filed suit on Tuesday against the Trump administration, saying Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGOP lawmaker: Trump administration 'playing checkers' in Syria while others are 'playing chess' Trump-Graham relationship tested by week of public sparring White House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week MORE unlawfully allowed President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE to seize notes from a meeting with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussia's snub of Geneva Convention protocol sets dangerous precedent Trump's aversion to alliances is making the world a more dangerous place Gadhafi's ghost still haunts US policymakers MORE, according to TIME.

In the filing, American Oversight and Democracy Forward claim Pompeo is required to preserve any meeting notes prepared by State Department employees under the Federal Records Act.

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“President Trump has taken unusual, and in some cases extreme, measures to conceal the details of these meetings, not only from the public at large, but also from key members of his administration,” the filing says, according to TIME.

The lawsuit notes that after the G-20 meeting in Hamburg in July 2017, where Trump met with Putin for two hours with no aides present, Trump took possession of an official’s notes documenting the meeting, citing Washington Post reports.

The filing notes there was no official read-out or public statement in connection with the meeting, and Russian officials claimed a number of agreements had been reached after the meeting.

“We aren’t talking about old outtakes from ‘The Apprentice,’” American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers told TIME. “This may be the only written record of a meeting between two heads of state, and the interpreter’s notes can’t be seized or destroyed just because President Trump might want them hidden.”

The White House has previously refused to provide similar documents relating to Trump and Putin’s communications to House Democrats.

In March, White House counsel Pat Cipollone told three House committee chairs “the President must be free to engage in discussions with foreign leaders without fear that those communications will be disclosed and used as fodder for partisan political purposes. And foreign leaders must be assured of this as well.”

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. The White House referred inquiries to the Justice Department.