Meeting details remain sketchy
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin may have reached several historic agreements at their summit in Finland this week. Or, they may not have. It depends on who you talk to. Three days later, no one was quite sure.
With no details emerging from the leaders’ one-on-one discussion on Monday – other than the vague outline they offered themselves – officials, lawmakers and citizens in the U.S. in particular are wondering what, if anything, was actually agreed to. Both Trump and Putin have declared the meeting a grand success that is soon to reap great rewards in numerous geopolitical realms, yet even the most complete accounting of the talks – one provided by Putin – suggests that any outcomes are far from certain.
And the fact that a high-profile, high-stakes summit between the commanders in chief of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers could take place without a solid achievement or failure to point to has flummoxed many.
In the U.S., frustration with the lack of information has raised already heightened suspicions of Trump. Democratic lawmakers have pushed to subpoena the notes of the State Department interpreter who translated for Trump or compel her to testify. Republicans have blocked the move. Officials said Thursday the White House and State Department also were likely to fight such a move as a breach of executive authority, making the appearance of the notes unlikely until they are published in a historical record decades from now.
So for now, everyone but Trump and Putin and perhaps a handful of their close confidants are in the dark. Even Trump’s own intelligence chief, Dan Coats, said Thursday, “I don’t know what happened in that meeting.”