World / Politics

Russia tells U.S. not to release Trump-Putin meeting transcripts

AFP-JIJI

Russia on Friday urged the United States not to publish Donald Trump’s conversations with Vladimir Putin after a growing scandal led the White House to release a transcript from a call with Ukraine’s leader.

“As for transcripts of phone conversations, my mother when bringing me up said that reading other people’s letters is inappropriate,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at the United Nations.

“It is indecent,” he said. “For two people elected by their nations to be at the helm, there are diplomatic manners that suppose a certain level of confidentiality.”

The White House on Wednesday put out a summary of a July 25 call with Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, after controversy over the conversation led rival Democrats to launch an impeachment process.

It showed that Trump asked Zelensky to probe Democratic rival Joe Biden, and Democrats are looking into whether Trump used a delayed $400 million aid package as leverage.

Lavrov, who met Friday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, criticized both U.S. lawmakers and media for the release of the transcript.

“Being so vociferous in saying that if you don’t show a certain memo involving a partner, that you’re going to bring this administration to its knees, what kind of democracy is that? How can you work in such conditions?” he said.

Trump’s relationship with Putin has come under intense scrutiny.

The U.S. leader has praised Putin and appeared to accept his denials of U.S. intelligence’s finding that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to benefit Trump.

An investigation led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.