House Democrats sent a letter Monday demanding the White House turn over any documents that detail communications between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin — and also demanded access to the U.S. president’s translator for those talks.
The demand, issued by chairmen of the House Oversight, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees, marks a major escalation in Democrats’ push to try to dig up dirt on the president’s life before he was a political figure, during the 2016 campaign, and after he entered the White House.
Monday’s request is perhaps the most invasive move, demanding the White House and State Department make available anyone who was at Trump-Putin meetings, people who “have knowledge” of the talks, and anyone who’s even seen or heard “readouts” of what transpired in the meetings.
The chairmen acknowledged they are chasing after “media reports” that accused Mr. Trump of trying to “conceal the details of his communications” with the Russian leader.
“These allegations, if true, raise profound national security, counterintelligence, and foreign policy concerns, especially in light of Russia’s ongoing active measures campaign to improperly influence American elections,” the chairmen wrote.
The request is likely to meet stiff resistance from the Executive Branch, which jealously guards the president’s prerogative to get advice and have conversations without the danger of it all becoming immediately public.
But the Democratic chairmen — Reps. Elijah Cummings, Elliot Engel and Adam Schiff — said Congress has a right to see what Mr. Trump is communicating to foreign leaders and whether he’s “acted in the national interest.”
Their request came just hours after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler fired off 81 document requests to the White House, Justice Department, Mr. Trump’s business empire and other figures who’ve had a tangential connection to Mr. Trump over the years.