Top US Democrats want Congress to interview the interpreter who was in the room with Trump and Putin

Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesDonald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
  • Two top Democrats are calling on Congress to interview the interpreter for President Donald Trump in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • The interpreter is Marina Gross.

Two top Democrats are calling on Congress to interview the interpreter for President Donald Trump during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland.

The interpreter, Marina Gross, was the only other American present in the private meeting between Trump and Putin, who was also joined by an interpreter.

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey called on Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, to bring forth Gross to testify.

“Given the public concessions” Trump made to Putin “by siding against the US intelligence community, law enforcement, and our military officials about Russia’s attack on our democracy, Congress and the American public deserve to know the details of their private conversation,” Pascrell wrote. “Serving as a translator, it has been reported that Ms. Marina Gross was the only other American in the room and so the sole reliable witness to the conversation between the two world leaders.”

If Gross declines to answer questions upon the committee’s request, Pascrell said she should be subpoenaed.

“We need public testimony by the only American present at this meeting to ensure Trump did not further undermine our intelligence or law enforcement communities,” he wrote.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also called on the panel to request testimony from Gross.

“I believe the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should hold a hearing with the American interpreter who was present during President Trump and President Putin’s private meeting to determine what was specifically discussed and agreed to on the United States’ behalf,” she said.

The calls came after Trump’s remarks at a Monday press conference alongside Putin were widely condemned by both Democrats and Republicans. The press conference followed their private meeting.

At the press conference, Trump cast doubt on the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election. He also attacked his Democratic opponents and the FBI, and said he held both countries accountable for their state of relations.

“My people came to me – Dan Coats came to me, some others – they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said, referring to the director of national intelligence and the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

He cited Putin’s “extremely strong and powerful” denials of such interference. And he seemed to endorse a plan Putin proposed that would allow the special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to work with Russian investigators to question 12 Russians indicted last week by Mueller.

But on Tuesday, Trump said he misspoke and actually meant to say the opposite of what he said – that he didn’t see any reason why it “wouldn’t” be Russia who interfered.

“I’ve said this many times,” Trump said, reading from a written statement. “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.”

But Trump made some adjustments to the written statement, including adding that the meddlers “could be other people also.”

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