Trump's private chats with Putin to be investigated by Democratic House committees
US President Donald Trump (right) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017 (AFP Photo/JORGE SILVA)

Key chairmen of oversight committees in the House of Representatives are preparing to force Donald Trump to disclose his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and are seeking the best legal way to do so.


Politico reported Saturday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-NY) have been consulting with Douglas Letter, the House's general counsel, on the most effective legal maneuvers to get the president to turn over the information.

"I had a meeting with the general counsel to discuss this and determine the best way to find out what took place in those private meetings — whether it’s by seeking the interpreter’s testimony, the interpreter’s notes, or other means," Schiff told Politico.

As the report noted, majority discussion with the House's general counsel often is a precursor to issues "that could end up playing out in court."

"In particular," Politico added, "Democrats say they want to find out what Trump and Putin discussed during their private meeting in Helsinki last July, where Trump put himself at odds with the U.S. intelligence community and declared — while standing next to the Russian president — that the Kremlin did not interfere in the 2016 elections.."

The Democratic chairmen are specifically looking to have Marina Gross, the State Department translator who was the only American present during the talks, to turn over her notes about the clandestine meeting — and to testify publicly before Congress.

"I’m not saying that I’m in favor of interpreters turning over all their notes," Engel said, "but I do think that it shouldn’t be up to the president to hide the notes."