Former CIA Russia expert: ’Something is going on behind the scenes’ with Trump and Putin

A former CIA expert on Russia said Wednesday that he feels “sick” after President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that he thinks “something is going on behind the scenes.”

Steven Hall, the former head of Russian operations at the CIA in Moscow, made the comments in a tweet, in which he also shared an article from The Atlantic calling Trump’s relationship with Putin “The Crisis Facing America.”

“From a counterintelligence perspective, something is going on behind the scenes,” Hall tweeted. “Before Helsinki I was less sure; post Helsinki, I feel sick.”

It is not clear what Hall thinks is going on "behind the scenes."   

Hall, who is also a CNN analyst, expressed his concerns in an op-ed about the Trump-Putin summit before the meeting happened.

Trump faced immediate backlash after his press conference with Putin from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, world leaders, the media and other prominent political figures.

During the conference, he refused to confront Putin over Russian interference in the 2016 election, and criticized the special counsel investigation. He also said that he didn’t see any reason why it “would have been” Russia that interfered in the election, comments that he later walked back, claiming he meant to say “wouldn’t.”


Criticism of the summit continued well into Wednesday after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump would “meet with his team” to discuss a proposal from Putin that would allow Russia to interrogate some U.S. citizens, including former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

Some prominent Trump critics, including former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have said that Trump’s behavior at the summit indicates that Putin has compromising information – known as kompromat in Russia – on the president.

"There's no question that there is something here that intimidates the president of the United States," Panetta said. "Whether the Russians have something on this president or not, no one really knows. But the way he behaves, there's a clear signal that the Russians have something on him."

Putin, when asked about the existence of kompromat during the press conference, said, “It's difficult to imagine an utter nonsense of a bigger scale than this."