Donald Trump Attempted To Hide Details Of Meetings With Vladimir Putin
The development also comes after it was revealed this weekend that the FBI opened a counterintelligence inquiry into whether Trump worked as a Russian agent. As new information about the president’s ties to Moscow continues to be reported, and as Trump faces probes into other issues related to him and his associates, Democrats — who control the House of Representatives — will likely seek to investigate him over the coming months.
On Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House intelligence Committee Chairman, urged Republicans on Twitter to back him in his plan to obtain notes or testimony from the interpreter who attended one of the meetings between Putin and Trump.
“Will they join us now?” Schiff tweeted about GOP lawmakers, adding a link to a Washington Post article that detailed a pattern of Trump’s efforts to obfuscate details of his conversations with Putin. “Shouldn’t we find out whether our president is really putting ‘America first?’”
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?” https://t.co/hzgfTRl653
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 13, 2019
According to The Post, Trump even took an interpreter’s notes following a private encounter between him and Putin at the G20 Summit in Germany in July 2017. Despite many top administration officials’ attempts to find out what the pair of leaders talked about during that meeting, Trump dismissed their requests and officials were left to rely on just a brief then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave reporters.
Trump has parroted Russian talking points on multiple occasions, something that has led Democratic lawmakers to push for intensified investigations into the president’s ties to Moscow.
“Why is he so chummy with Vladimir Putin, this man who is a former K.G.B. agent, never been a friend to the United States, invaded our allies, threatens us around the world and tries his damnedest to undermine our elections?” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate Minority Whip, said while speaking on ABC’s This Week. “Why is this President Trump’s best buddy? I don’t get it.”
Several GOP lawmakers defended Trump’s relationship with Putin over the weekend. In an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the House minority leader, described the idea of Trump being a threat to national security as “absolutely ludicrous.”
“I know what the president likes to do,” said McCarthy. “He likes to create a personal relationship, build that relationship, even rebuild that relationship, like he does with other world leaders around.”
Many of the questions special counsel Robert Mueller — who is investigating Russian meddling during the 2016 election and potential Trump-Russia collusion — sent the president last year addressed Trump’s relationship with Moscow. Other questions were related to obstruction of justice.