Politico reported Thursday that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee blocked Democrats from issuing a subpoena to the interpreter, who President Trump brought with him to his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
According to a State Department official, Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell were the ones to make the motion to subpoena Trump’s interpreter, Marina Gross, to testify behind closed doors. The motion was made Thursday morning at a hearing entitled “China’s threat to American government and private sector research and innovation leadership.”
During the hearing, Schiff said, “One of the issues that’s come about as a result of the public comments he has made during that summit is what took place in the private two-hour meeting that the president had alone with Mr. Putin. It appears there were commitments made in that meeting that affect American national security interests. I regret that we have to raise this at today’s hearing.”
Schiff, who pushed for the vote to compel the interpreter to testify, commented, “This is an extraordinary remedy, I realize, but then it’s extraordinary for the president of the United States to ask all of his senior staff essentials to leave the room and have a conversation with an adversary.”
“And then in a public conversation,” Schiff continued, “disavow his own intelligence agencies and in many respects disavow his own country.”
President Trump, who has been criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for his closed-door meeting with Putin, was scrutinized even further after publicly supporting and believing the word of the Russian President over his own intelligence agencies. The U.S. President has since had to walk back his previous statements and claims.
In addition to Schiff, Massachusetts Representative Joe Kennedy and New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen also requested Trump’s interpreter to testify.
After his request for a business meeting next week was denied, Schiff pleaded that “this may be our last opportunity before we go into an extended recess.”
In response to Schiff, Republican Chairman Devin Nunes said, “As you know, Mr. Schiff, this is a hearing, and the only motion you can make is a motion to adjourn.”
Schiff, however, repeated his motion several times, urging, “I think this remedy is warranted.”
According to Politico, Nunes “initially declined to recognize Schiff’s motion before recessing the panel for about 20 minutes. When it reconvened, the committee voted along party lines, 11-6, to table Schiff’s attempt to bring the interpreter before the committee.”