Why Did the Trump Administration Make the Russia Briefing an Off-the-Record Event?

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2016 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds the Cabinet meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia. Recent hacks of election data systems in at least two states have raised fear among lawmakers and intelligence officials that a foreign government is trying to seed doubt about - or even manipulate - the presidential race, renewing debate over when cyberattacks cross red lines and warrant a U.S. response. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

Reporters were confused earlier today as a Trump Administration briefing on Russia was made an off-the-record event at the last minute.

The briefing’s change came on the heels of the revelation that Russia knew in advance about Syria’s chemical attack on its own civilians.

From: Joseph, Cameron
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2017 6:06 PM
Subject: Pool report 5: Briefing made off-record

The White House had promised a background briefing on Russia. It was changed when it began to an off-the-record, un-reportable briefing. Michael Anton offered to answer any questions about what was discussed.

Cameron Joseph
Washington Bureau Chief
New York Daily News

It’s apparently not that common for a briefing to be made off-the-record so suddenly, according to Tommy Christopher over at Share Blue.

I’m not infinitely more curious as to what the administration wants to keep a secret now. I mean, it’s not too secret, and I suppose something could leak out, but still.

We just got over an administration that pulled the veil of secret and executive privilege when it could to keep things quiet. The so-called “scandal-free” Obama years were filled to the brim with secrecy. Making a briefing about Russia – what we know about their doings in Syria, what they are planning, what we are going to do, etc. – an off-the-record event smells suspiciously like those years did.