Democrats Could Be Planning To Subpoena Interpreter To Learn What Donald Trump Told Vladimir Putin In Private

Donald Trump winks at Vladimir Putin.
Guido Bergmann / Bundesregierung via Getty Images

Democrats in Congress are reportedly hatching an aggressive plan to investigate Donald Trump on multiple fronts, including a potential subpoena for the interpreter who was present for the private conversation between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The subject of that conversation that the two leaders held in July during a two-hour meeting remains largely a mystery, with Trump sharing only some general themes of what they two discussed. But with Trump still roiled in allegations that his campaign may have colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign — and with the president refusing to disclose exactly what was discussed during the controversial summit in Helsinki — Democrats are reportedly prepared to find out on their own.

As Axios reported, the newly Democrat-led House has plans to ramp up investigations into Trump’s finances and allegations of collusion with Russia. Democratic leaders laid out these plans during a roundtable discussion with reporters, saying they are prepared to use subpoena power to investigate areas that Republicans refused to touch when they had control of committees for the first two years of Trump’s presidency

“At least three committees are already involved: The House Intelligence Committee is taking the lead, coordinating with House Financial Services on money-laundering questions and with House Foreign Affairs on Russia,” the report noted. “Democrats are considering ways to uncover what was said in a Trump private meeting with Putin, ‘whether that’s subpoenaing the notes or subpoenaing the interpreter or other steps.'”

The meeting itself stirred immediate international controversy as Trump afterward appeared to side with Putin over his own intelligence agencies, saying he believed the Russian president’s denial of any involvement in the 2016 presidential election. American intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia did interfere with the goal of helping Trump to be elected.

The push from Democrats to learn about what was said in Donald Trump’s private meeting with Vladimir Putin ramped up after a January report from the Washington Post that said Trump took extraordinary measures to keep the details of the meeting private even from his own administration, including confiscating the notes from the interpreter and demanding that no information from the talks by shared with other U.S. officials.

Another report from the New York Times noted that in the wake of the May 2017 firing of FBI Director James Comey, the FBI started an investigation into whether Donald Trump was working directly on behalf of Russian interests. The results of that report were not disclosed, and it was not clear if the investigation remained ongoing.