Biden almost certainly has access to Trump's secretive calls with Putin
U.S. President Joe Biden and his national security team have several reasons to learn what former President Donald Trump said to Russian President Vladimir Putin in their dozen-plus conversations.
One of them is probably curiosity. "Trump closely guarded his private conversations with foreign leaders while in office, going as far as to have some hidden in the [National Security Council's] top-secret codeword system to limit staffers' and even Cabinet members' access and prevent leaks," Politico notes.
But there are also practical reasons, Politico underscores. "Understanding what was said between the two could help illuminate whether Trump ever revealed sensitive information or struck any deals with the Kremlin leader that could take the new administration by surprise."
"They don’t need our approval to see those [records]," a former Trump White House official said, referring to the new Biden national security team. "Biden owns all the call materials. There is only one president at a time."
The Biden White House did not comment on whether it had seen the content of the calls. But so far, at least, the National Security Council has not registered any complaints with their ability to access relevant call records from the previous administration.
"It is a national security priority to find out what Trump said to Putin" over his four years in office, said one former national security official who is close to the new president. "Some things, like what happened in some face-to-face meetings where no American translator or note-taker was present, may never be fully known. But I would be very surprised if the new national security team were not trying to access" the call records.
Trump closely guarded his private conversations with foreign leaders while in office, going as far as to have some hidden in the NSC’s top-secret codeword system to limit staffers’ and even cabinet members’ access and prevent leaks.
But former senior Trump advisers said it was rare that Trump would say anything to the Russian leader that he had not already said publicly.