President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at the White House in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, after spending the weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at the White House in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, after spending the weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

White House rejects request for Trump, Putin communications

The Democrats have requested information on private conversations between Trump and Putin

The White House on Thursday rejected a Democratic request for information on private conversations between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, including an interview with an interpreter who sat in on their one-on-one meeting in Helsinki last summer.

In a letter earlier this month, the House intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight committees asked for the substance of Trump and Putin’s conversations in person and by phone. They also asked for any documents related to the conversations, information on whether the talks had any impact on U.S. foreign policy, and information on whether Trump tried to conceal any evidence of them.

On Thursday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to the Democratic chairmen of the three committees rebuffing all those requests.

“The president must be free to engage in discussions with foreign leaders without fear that those communications will be disclosed and used as fodder for partisan political purposes,” Cipollone wrote, adding, “No foreign leader would engage in private conversations with the president, or the president’s senior advisors, if such conversations were subject to public disclosure (or disclosure to committees of Congress).”

READ MORE: Where the investigations related to President Trump stand

Citing Supreme Court precedent, Cipollone wrote that “the conduct of foreign affairs is a matter that the Constitution assigns exclusively to the President.”

The March 4 letters to the White House — signed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings — requested interviews with “linguists, translators or interpreters” who in any way listened to Trump and Putin’s conversations. The two leaders met privately in Helsinki in July for more than two hours with only interpreters present, and the White House has not said what they discussed.

Multiple Democratic-led committees are battling with the White House over documents as they launch broad new investigations of Trump and his personal and political dealings. On Tuesday, Cummings accused the White House of perpetrating “an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction” in response to congressional requests for documents and witnesses.

READ MORE: Records show FBI was probing Michael Cohen long before raid

Cummings wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that he has sent 12 letters to the White House on a range of topics ranging from security clearances to the use of taxpayer funds for lavish private aircraft. Since then, he wrote, the Trump administration has “not turned over a single piece of paper to our committee or made a single official available for testimony.”

Mary Clare Jalonick And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Former owner and new manager Cole Johnston holds up the Reo’s sign outside its new location on Hall Street. The video rental store will reopen March 17. Photo: Submitted
Civic Theatre to reopen Reo’s at new location

The theatre has purchased the video rental store

Simon Robbie and Aimee Andrews and their daughters took possession of their new home in Nelson on March 1. Photo: Submitted
Nelson family finds home thanks to Habitat for Humanity

Simon Robbie and Aimee Andrews moved their family in March 1

Nelson's Diana Morita Cole is the keynote speaker of the KDocsFF film festival. Photo: Submitted
Nelson author Diana Morita Cole to speak at film festival

She will share a virtual stage with actor George Takei

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read