U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez on Friday sent letters to President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting that they maintain all records related to Trump’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“While Presidents can and should have candid discussions with foreign leaders, official records from such discussions are necessary for executive agencies and members of Congress to understand what you have said or agreed to on behalf of the United States and to develop and implement effective foreign policy and national security strategies,” Menendez wrote to Trump.
“Past reports regarding your attempts to conceal information about your conversations with Vladimir Putin, as well as the general secrecy around your interactions with him, undermine our national security and the transparency necessary for a democratic government like the United States.”
Menendez is ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Democrats have long criticized Trump for cozying up to Putin, using the Russia’s interference into the 2016 presidential election to underscore those attacks.
The president has previously taken great pains to conceal the content of his private talks with Putin and has said that no detailed records related to some of his previous meetings with the Russian leader exist.
Trump has blocked previous attempts made by Congress to gain access to existing records about those meetings.
“In our democracy, the American people, through their representatives, have a right to know what President Trump has discussed or agreed to on behalf of the United States when he meets with President Putin,” Menendez wrote to Pompeo. “The lack of transparency surrounding their previous discussions should not be repeated.”