Phone calls with Trump: more risky venture than diplomatic boon

LONDON (Reuters) – Arranging a phone call with the president of the United States used to be seen as a diplomatic win. But increasingly it comes with serious risks, from transcript leaks to domestic political blowback, and advisers are growing wary.

The fallout from Trump’s July 25th call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is still reverberating in Kiev and has led to the opening of an impeachment inquiry in Washington.

U.S. lawmakers leading the inquiry now want access to Trump’s calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and some other world leaders, with the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee citing concerns that Trump may have jeopardized national security.

“People have to adjust to the fact that a phone call with Trump is not the same as a phone call with any normal leader,” said Gerard Araud, the French ambassador in Washington until last June, who helped organize a number of calls between President Emmanuel Macron and the White House.

For any world leader who has spoken to Trump, the idea that verbatim transcripts could be released is a worrying prospect and likely to alter how such calls — a lifeblood of international diplomacy — play out in the future.

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