Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday rejected a motion to subpoena the interpreter present at President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent private meeting.
BREAKING: @RepSwalwell and I just made a motion in House Intel Committee to subpoena the American interpreter during the summit — the only witness to Trump’s meeting with Putin. This is an extraordinary remedy, but Trump’s actions necessitate it.
Republicans voted it down.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 19, 2018
The motion was offered by Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the committee.
“It is our motion that the interpreter be subpoenaed to come and testify in closed session before our committee,” Schiff said during a hearing that was supposed to focus on China.
.@AdamSchiffCA just attempted to introduce a motion to subpoena Trump’s Russian interpreter to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on the private exchange between the president and Putin during a hearing on…China.
— Natalie Johnson (@nataliejohnsonn) July 19, 2018
“I regret that we have to request this in today’s meeting. We requested a business meeting next week, but that request has been declined. This may be our last opportunity before we go into an extended recess to vote to subpoena the interpreter and find out if there are any other national security problems that arose from this meeting,” the California Democrat continued.
Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, recessed the panel for about 20 minutes, reconvening to vote 11-6 to table Schiff’s motion, according to Politico.
“I think given the president’s performance in the last week, let alone the last year and a half it would be naive not to have that concern,” Schiff said, responding to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota who asked if he feared that “Trump, behind closed doors with Vladimir Putin, may have said something that he shouldn’t?”
“I think these are the kind of extraordinary circumstances where we ought to subpoena the interpreter, we ought to bring the interpreter in behind closed doors and find out did the president make concessions to Putin, did the president shared classified information with Putin?” Schiff continued.
Camerota asked about the negative implications of the subpoena, calling it a double-edged sword as “world leaders need to be able to speak freely to each other.”
“This is not a broad policy I want to see happen all the time,” Schiff replied, “but when you have the president of the United States saying I don’t want my national security adviser present, I don’t want my secretary of state present, I don’t want anyone as a witness other than the United States adversary and in public behave so inexplicably.”
“I think those extraordinary circumstances warrant this extraordinary remedy and I think it’s negligent for us not to find out,” he said.