House committees could subpoena Trump’s interpreter from one of his private meetings with Putin ‘after the President seized aide’s notes so they wouldn’t appear on the record’
- Trump met with Putin for private talks during G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017
- Meeting was attended by interpreter and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
- Trump has been accused of ordering interpreter to hand over notes afterward
- Two House committees are now mulling whether to subpoena the interpreter
Lawyers from two house committees will meet today to discuss subpoenaing the interpreter who sat in on Trump’s closed-door talks with Vladimir Putin in 2017.
Attorneys from the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committee decided on the move after reports emerged that Trump had seized the interpreter’s notes following private talks with the Russian President at the G20 summit in Hamburg.
A senior Democratic aide on the Foreign Affairs Committee said that news had ‘changed the calculus’ and ‘raised a whole host of questions’.
Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin for private talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017 (file image)
The aide told ABC News: ‘We’re looking into the legal implications of that, and we’ll discuss our options.
‘Our lawyers are sitting down with intel committee lawyers to hash it out.’
Committee members are not yet drafting subpoenas, but merely discussing how they would go about issuing one, if the committees decide to do it.
A committee vote on the issue is due in a few weeks, the source added.
The legal maneuvering comes after the Washington Post reported that Trump had gone to ‘extraordinary lengths’ to keep records of his talks with Putin private.
Officials told the paper that Trump had taken the interpreter’s notes of his conversation with Putin at the G20, and instructed him not to talk to any other members of his administration about what was said.
Trump is accused of ordering his interpreter to hand over notes about the meeting to keep them from the record, causing two House committees to mull subpoenaing him
The meeting, which came in addition to a public sit-down between the two world leaders, was not reported at the time and only acknowledged by the White House a week later.
As a result of Trump’s tampering with official records, there is no account – even in classified files – about what transpired between him and Putin on five separate occasions, according to the Post.
A White House spokesman denied that Trump was trying to conceal details of the meeting and noted that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been present.
Tillerson ‘gave a fulsome readout of the meeting immediately afterward to other U.S. officials in a private setting, as well as a readout to the press’, the spokesman said.
House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff gave his support for the idea of subpoenaing the interpreter on Sunday, tweeting: ‘Last year, we sought to obtain the interpreter’s notes or testimony, from the private meeting between Trump and Putin.
‘The Republicans on our committee voted us down. Will they join us now? Shouldn’t we find out whether our president is really putting “America first?”’