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

Greg Nash

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) on Tuesday called for the American translator present during President Trump’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 Mueller’s investigation for souring relations between Russia and the U.S.


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 Kennedy 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 Ryan’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.

Tags Donald Trump election meddling Helsinki Jeanne Shaheen Joe Kennedy Paul Ryan Robert Mueller Russia Trump-Putin summit

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