Dem senator: Trump-Putin translator should tell Congress what was said

Dem senator: Trump-Putin translator should tell Congress what was said
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenKoch-backed group launches 7-figure ad blitz opposing .5T bill Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken We have a plan that prioritizes Afghanistan's women — we're just not using it MORE (D-N.H.) on Tuesday called for the American translator present during President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE's one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to tell Congress what was said.

"I believe the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should hold a hearing with the American translator who was present during President Trump and President Putin's private meeting to determine what was specifically discussed and agreed to on the United States's behalf," Shaheen, a member of the committee, said.

Trump and Putin had a private one-on-one meeting that reportedly lasted more than two hours on Monday before a shocking joint press conference.

In that press conference, Trump downplayed Russian interference in the 2016 election and blamed special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation for souring relations between Russia and the U.S.

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Trump's remarks were met with swift condemnation from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. A number of lawmakers on Tuesday continued to condemn Trump's conduct. 

Though Putin speaks English, both Trump and Putin had translators with them at the meeting due to protocol. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week told the news organization Russia Today that Trump wanted to hold the meeting without other officials, but Putin preferred a translator to ensure he was communicating his thoughts clearly, according to Newsweek.

Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedySupreme Court confounding its partisan critics Warren says she'll run for reelection to Senate Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE III (D-Mass.) echoed Shaheen in a tweet, saying "@realDonaldTrump’s translator should come before Congress and testify as to what was said privately immediately. If Republicans are as outraged as they claim, then issue the subpoena today."

The code of ethics published by the American Translators Association says translators must "hold in confidence" any privileged information they come across. 

Shaheen's request is one of many proposed by lawmakers following the Helsinki summit.

House Democrats on Tuesday proposed a measure to endorse Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book Paul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won election: 'It was not rigged. It was not stolen' Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms MORE's (R-Wis.) statement criticizing Russian interference in U.S. elections, but Republicans blocked the resolution.

"It is imperative that the American people in this Congress know precisely what the president shared or promised the Kremlin on our behalf," Shaheen said. "Yesterday's events make it explicitly clear that Congress must exert its authority to be a check on the presidency."

Trump on Tuesday appeared to walk back his earlier remarks, claiming he accepts the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, but he muddied that right away by repeating a previous claim that "other people" could have been involved in election meddling as well.