Americans should be "very concerned" about reports that President Donald Trump kept details of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin private, and it would be "terrible" if those discussions included withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Tuesday.
"If this was in fact a topic of discussion in secret sessions between Putin and President Trump, that's really terrible," Clapper told CNN's "New Day," while responding to a report in The New York Times that Trump had last year suggested to his top security officials that he no could no longer see the point of remaining in the alliance.
"Withdrawing from NATO, even discussing withdrawing from NATO would be disastrous for the security of the United States," said Clapper, as such a discussion would play into Putin's hands.
"This would be, to me, a real disaster. NATO has been a bulwark for both U.S. and Europe for 70 years," he added.
But as there is no record of what Trump and Putin spoke about, it is "really disturbing that we have apparently no record of any of this dialogue," Clapper said.
"Here we’re having these one-on-one meetings, several of them, and we have no idea what went on, and this is with the leader of the arch-adversary of the United States."
Several Republicans have argued that Trump was seeking to prevent leaks by limiting how many people were involved with the Putin meetings, but Clapper said that argument "stretches credulity," as advisers and staff members are often needed to be present.
However, he said that it would be a dangerous precedent if the records of the Trump-Putin meetings are subpoenaed.
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