On Thursday, Donald Trump told Fox News radio host Geraldo Rivera that he might block all White House officials from listening in on his phone calls with foreign leaders.
“I may end the practice entirely,” Trump said.
It is a practice long used within the White House. The practice has a select group of national security officials, staffers and cabinet members listening in on phone calls that the president has with foreign leaders. The individuals that listen in on the call take notes and use the call talking points to create foreign policy.
According to National-security veterans, there are several serious risks that would arise from blocking White House officials from listening in on conversations with foreign leaders.
“The practice is indispensable to the coordination and implementation of sound foreign policy and national security practices,” Edward Price, who served as a senior director on the National Security Council for President Barack Obama, recently told Business Insider. “No president — but especially not this one — can or should be relied upon to back brief senior advisers on details that can often be extraordinarily nuanced.”
Price added that Trump’s statements show that he’s “willing to forgo the potential utility of these discussions in order to see to it that he can fulfill his agenda, rather than the national interest, without would-be witnesses listening in.”
This isn’t the first time that Trump has attempted to keep conversations that he had with foreign leaders private.
Last year’s US officials, reported that “there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years,” reported the Washington Post.
It was also reported that back in 2017, after Trump met with Vladimir Putin, Trump instructed his interpreter not to tell other US officials what was said. He also reportedly seized the notes that the interpreter had made.
In 2018 while attending the G20 Summit, Trump met privately with Putin and did not allow any US official to attend the meeting.