Three House Democratic committee chairmen promised action in response to two bombshell weekend reports about President Donald Trump and Russia.
On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that Trump went to great lengths to hide readouts of multiple exchanges with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including the one-on-one meeting the leaders held in Helsinki, Finland, last year. Current and former U.S. officials told the publication that Trump went as far as confiscating notes from his interpreter and barring them from discussing details of the meetings with other administration officials.
"Every time Trump meets with Putin, the country is told nothing," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., tweeted Saturday evening. "America deserves the truth and the Foreign Affairs Committee will seek to get to the bottom of it."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who last year sought to subpoena the interpreter from Trump's meeting with Putin in Finland, signaled on Sunday that he will renew his efforts to gain information from that interpreter — the only other U.S. person in the room for that meeting.
"Last year, we sought to obtain the interpreter’s notes or testimony, from the private meeting between Trump and Putin," Schiff tweeted. "The Republicans on our committee voted us down. Will they join us now? Shouldn’t we find out whether our president is really putting 'America first?'"
The Republican-controlled committee voted down Schiff's motion to subpoena that interpreter last year.
Meanwhile, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a Saturday statement that his committee would be digging into the items discussed in a Friday New York Times report that said the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump after he fired former FBI Director James Comey.
The Times reported that Trump's firing of Comey triggered a counterintelligence probe into whether the president was working to advance Russia's interests. The administration's initial rationale for firing Comey was his handling of the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, but Trump almost immediately connected Comey's firing to the Russia investigation during a 2017 interview with NBC News' Lester Holt.
"In the coming weeks, the Judiciary Committee will take steps to better understand both the President’s actions and the FBI’s response to that behavior, and to make certain that these career investigators are protected from President Trump’s increasingly unhinged attacks," Nadler said in a statement.
The president, his administration, and his allies pushed back on both of these weekend reports, saying that he has been much tougher on Russia through his actions than former President Barack Obama.
On The Times report, Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro on Saturday that the accusation of him being a Russian agent was "insulting." Pointing to The Post story, Trump said he was not "keeping anything under wraps."
"Anybody could have listened to that meeting," he said of the Helsinki meeting that only included Trump, Putin and translators."That meeting is up for grabs."