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President Donald Trump presides over a meeting about immigration with Republican and Democrat members of Congress in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

'They Thought No One Would Notice': WH Transcript of Immigration Meeting Omitted Trump's Endorsement of 'Clean' DACA Fix

"Based on this, it's legitimate to question what other federal records they may have falsified when no one was looking."

Jake Johnson

During his hour-long immigration meeting with members of Congress on Tuesday, President Donald Trump contradicted his own previous positions and those of his party by suggesting that he "would like" to sign a "clean DACA bill." But you wouldn't know it if you relied on the White House's initial transcript of the meeting, which omitted—some would say "air-brushed"—the remark.

Perhaps, as former director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub suggested, White House staff left out the comment that so enraged the far-right in the hopes that "no one would notice." The problem, of course, is that the meeting was televised—and soon everyone noticed.

Trump's comment came during an exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who asked the president if he would "be agreeable" to a "clean" bill to protect Dreamers that leaves out all of the conditions Trump and the Republican Party have previously demanded, like heightened "border security" and funding for a wall.

"Yeah, I would like—I would like to do that. Go ahead," Trump told Feinstein. "I think a lot of people would like to see that, but I think we have to do DACA first." (As the Washington Post's Aaron Blake notes, it is clear that Trump did not understand what a "clean" bill would entail.)

The original transcript of the meeting released by the White House on Tuesday left out the first half of the comment above, leaving in place only the last sentence.

Following a flood of backlash, the White House on Wednesday released an amended transcript—with the previously excluded comment inserted with an asterisk—and insisted that any omission was accidental.

Below are the two transcripts, with the initial version first:


Critics found this slip-up a bit too convenient, given that the comment in question ran counter to Trump's demands over the past several months and threatened to upend the plans of Republican immigration hawks.

"They thought no one would notice a corrupted transcript, got caught, looked up the Presidential Records Act, and quietly fixed it," Shaub concluded. "Based on this, it's legitimate to question what other federal records they may have falsified when no one was looking."

Others similarly raised suspicion about the omitted line:

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