Maddow: White House removed Putin support for Trump from official video, transcript

Maddow: White House removed Putin support for Trump from official video, transcript
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MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday said the White House had appeared to delete a question about Russian President Vladimir Putin's support for President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE in an official video of the leaders' joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland. 

“The U.S. government is essentially following the Kremlin’s playbook,” Maddow argued on her nightly newscast, pointing to footage the White House posted online and what she called a "real" video of the press conference. 

Maddow specifically references a question from Reuters reporter Jeff Mason, who asked Putin if he wanted Trump to win the 2016 presidential election and if he directed any of his officials to interfere in the election to help Trump's campaign. 


Putin responds that he did want Trump to win the election because "he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal." 

Maddow contrasted that footage with what the White House posted, which omits the first part of Mason's question. Mason is only seen asking if Putin directed officials to help with election interference.

The Washington Post reported that the omission was a result of the simultaneous translation taking place during the event.

"This was by no means malicious," a White House official told CNN. The White House told the outlet that the audio feed used to produce the video and the transcript did not turn up Mason's audio in time to catch the beginning of the question while the translator was still speaking.

But Maddow argued that the White House did it on purpose.

"They just dropped it out," Maddow said. “What the White House has disappeared from the official U.S. government record of that meeting ... is President Putin answering in the affirmative when asked if he wanted Trump to win the election,” Maddow said.

The Atlantic was the first news outlet to point out the differences. Maddow added that the Russian government's transcript from the event nixes Mason's question completely. 

“At least the White House had the courtesy to leave in half of his question so you can get a misleading answer,” Maddow then said. 

The comments from Maddow came about a week after Trump and Putin met for a high-stakes summit, one in which the president drew bipartisan criticism for his refusal to denounce Russian election interference. 

On Monday, Trump said he was concerned Russia may interfere in the upcoming midterm elections to help the Democrats.

-Updated 5:15 p.m.