Powerful chairmen of oversight committees in the House of Representatives are preparing to force Donald Trump to disclose his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin according to a new report from POLITICO.
POLITICO reported this morning that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-NY) have been consulting with Douglas Letter, the House’s general counsel, on the most effective legal maneuvers to get the president to turn over the information.
House Democrats are taking their first real steps to force Trump to divulge information about his private conversations with Vladimir Putin https://t.co/CaLprf21Lg
— POLITICO (@politico) February 16, 2019
“I had a meeting with the general counsel to discuss this and determine the best way to find out what took place in those private meetings — whether it’s by seeking the interpreter’s testimony, the interpreter’s notes, or other means,” Schiff told POLITICO.
It is understood that when committee chairmen meet with the House’s general counsel it is usually a precursor to issues “that could end up playing out in court.”
“In particular,” POLITICO noted, “Democrats say they want to find out what Trump and Putin discussed during their private meeting in Helsinki last July, where Trump put himself at odds with the U.S. intelligence community and declared — while standing next to the Russian president — that the Kremlin did not interfere in the 2016 elections.”
The Democratic committee chairs are especially want to have Marina Gross, the State Department translator who was the only American present during the Helsinki talks, to turn over her notes about the secret meeting. After that, Democrats want her to testify publicly before Congress.
“I’m not saying that I’m in favor of interpreters turning over all their notes,” Engel said, “but I do think that it shouldn’t be up to the president to hide the notes.”
As POLITICO notes, the actions by the House committee chairs will probably lead to “an extraordinary clash with the White House over Congress’ oversight authority.”
“Democrats’ campaign to find out what Trump and Putin discussed began in earnest last month after a Washington Post story revealed that the U.S. president went to “extraordinary lengths” to shield his interpreter’s notes about a 2017 meeting with Putin in Hamburg from senior officials in his administration.”
Earlier this month we reported that a former longtime CIA agent is concerned that Trump may be sharing classified secrets with Putin.
We also reported that an FBI investigation into whether Trump is working for Russia is ongoing at this time.
There is increasing evidence that the President of the United States may be a Russian spy. If this is true, then Vladimir Putin is his boss. So it is a critical national security matter that Congress — and the American people — find out as soon as possible what exactly Trump and Putin discussed in their clandestine meetings.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.