Schiff floats possibility of renewing demand for interpreter’s notes from Trump-Putin meeting

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sunday floated the possibility of renewing his demand to subpoena the translator present during a July 2018 meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“Last year, we sought to obtain the interpreter’s notes or testimony, from the private meeting between Trump and Putin,” Schiff tweeted. “The Republicans on our committee voted us down. Will they join us now?”

{mosads}”Shouldn’t we find out whether our president is really putting ‘America first?’ ” Schiff wrote, a nod to one of Trump’s campaign slogans.

Schiff’s call comes as a bombshell Washington Post report reverberates throughout Washington, reigniting questions about Trump’s alleged ties with the Kremlin.

The Post over the weekend reported that Trump has tried to conceal conversations he had with Putin on multiple occasions, at one point confiscating notes from his interpreter. Trump has called the report “ridiculous” while White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it “outrageously inaccurate.” 

ABC News on Sunday reported that House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committee lawyers are planning to meet on Monday to discuss subpoenaing Trump’s interpreters at meetings with Putin where there were no aides present. 

A House Intelligence Committee spokesman declined to comment on ABC’s reporting, directing The Hill to Schiff’s Sunday morning tweet.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee over the summer rejected a motion offered by Schiff to subpoena the interpreter present at the widely scrutinized private meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki. 

The Post reported that aides have been unable to receive a readout from the Trump-Putin meeting, which preceded a controversial press conference in which Trump appeared to downplay Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. 

Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) told the post that the panel is planning to form a subcommittee to look into records of Trump’s encounters with Putin, particularly the Helsinki meeting.

“It’s been several months since Helsinki and we still don’t know what went on in that meeting,” Engel told the newspaper. “It’s appalling. It just makes you want to scratch your head.”

Subpoenaing a translator is a sharp turn away from typical diplomatic conduct. The code of ethics published by the American Translators Association says translators must “hold in confidence” any privileged information they come across.

Tags Adam Schiff Eliot Engel

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