Marina Gross, Donald Trump’s Russian Interpreter, Faces Calls From Congress To Testify
After another week of very erratic behavior from President Donald Trump, American lawmakers are eager to learn more about what happened in his closed-door meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
All eyes are on the only other American in the room at the time, Trump’s State Department appointed interpreter, Marina Gross. Very little is known about Gross, other than she is a veteran of the State Department, was assigned to work with Laura Bush during the Sochi Olympics in 2008 and accompanied the former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow in 2017.
As the uproar grows over the lack of clarity over what transpired in the meeting, Gross, new to the spotlight, increasingly faces calls from Congress to testify about what she heard.
However, forcing an interpreter to publicly reveal the details of a meeting between world leaders would be unprecedented. Interpreters pride themselves on being a discrete fly-on-the-wall. But many lawmakers are more concerned about the issue of national security.
“It may be unprecedented to subpoena a translator to reveal details of a private meeting between the president and another world leader, but Trump’s actions are unprecedented in a way that harms our national security,” Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) wrote Tuesday in a memo to top lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, USA Today reported.
The American public deserves to know if Trump made any concessions, revealed national security secrets or tried to profit off the presidency, said Pascrell. “The only way to answer this question,” he said, “is by compelling the American translator to testify publicly.”
Pascrell also tweeted his thoughts on the matter saying the U.S. is in need of “independent answers from the US interpreter.”
Trump serves up more whoppers than a fast food joint. This is why we can’t believe a word this White House tells us about the meeting w/Putin and need independent answers from the US interpreter. https://t.co/D08edNdVyV
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) 19. Juli 2018
Not unlike religious leaders or physicians, interpreters adhere to a code of ethics stating that any confidential information entrusted to them in their work dealings are to remain private.
Trump’s statements at a press conference after the summit set off a political wildfire on both sides of the aisle as Democrats and Republicans alike were dumbfounded by his failure to challenge Putin on Russian meddling in the 2016 election and were confused by his friendly demeanor towards one of America’s biggest enemies.
Given the pressure on the situation, it still seems unlikely at this point that Gross will have to testify. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to shoot down any formal attempt from Democrats on Thursday to subpoena the interpreter.
According to The New York Times, a former ambassador to Russia under former President George W. Bush and a National Security Council aide under former President Bill Clinton, Alexander Vershbow said, executive privilege would most likely be violated if lawmakers forced Gross to appear before Congress.
“I think it’s more a reflection of the mistrust of President Trump,” said Vershbow, “and his judgment in dealing with Russia, that the interpreter is being used as a whipping boy.”