US President Donald Trump has stated that he "did not care" if the details of his conversation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin were published. Trump was responding to a Washington Post report that he was trying to hide the details of his conversation.
WASHINGTON – Democrats say they plan their "next steps" after the White House on Thursday rejected a request for documents regarding President Donald Trump's communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Earlier this month, Democratic-led intelligence, foreign affairs and surveillance committees in the House sent a letter asking in substance and by phone for Trump's and Putin's conversations. They also asked for any documents relating to the conversations, indicating whether the discussions had an impact on US foreign policy and whether Trump had attempted to conceal evidence about them.
Pat Cipollone, a White House lawyer, denied the claim on Thursday, arguing that previous precedents prevent Congress from obtaining such documents and overseeing the president's communications on foreign affairs.
"The president must be free to engage in discussions with foreign leaders without fear that these communications will be disclosed and used for partisan political ends," writes Cipollone, adding that "no foreign leader would engage in a private conversation with the president, or the chief advisers of the president, if such conversations were subject to public disclosure ".
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In a joint statement, Adam Schiff, chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Intelligence Committee, Eliot Engel, chair of the foreign affairs committee, and Elijah Cummings, chairman of Parliament's reform and oversight committee, suggested that the struggle for documents was not over and that the denial was only one "troubling" element. Trump administration to reject the legitimate and necessary monitoring of Congress. "
"We are also concerned about the false statements and representations contained in the letter: In previous Democratic and Republican administrations, the White House had made officials available to journalists for interviews and produced in Congress all sorts of documents and documents. internal communications about "the conduct of external relations" The Obama administration has in fact prepared reports describing the calls of the President and the Secretary of State with foreign leaders, as well as many records of organizations involved in the conduct external relations of the United States as a State Department, Department of Defense and other agencies ".
The Democrats concluded by stating, "The decision of President Trump to break with this precedent raises the question of what he must hide.We will consult on the appropriate next steps.The Congress has the constitutional obligation to control and to investigate these issues, and we will fulfill this task. " this responsibility. "
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Their March request included interviews with "linguists, translators or interpreters" who listened in one way or another to the conversations of Trump and Putin. The two leaders met privately in Helsinki in July for more than two hours in the presence of only performers. The White House did not specify what they had discussed.
In his denial on Thursday, Cipollone cited specific court cases, including Supreme Court decisions, in which he pleaded against disclosure of such documents and information. He said Trump "should be free to consult with his key advisers – to ask candid questions, solicit and receive recommendations, evaluate options and debate policy options".
Cipollone argues that if these documents were published, it could affect external relations and set a precedent with future presidents. He says in the letter that the application is unfair and seems to be a way for critics to control the administration.
"It seems that the practice of the committees has been to ask for information that they have no right to receive, and then to unfairly criticize the White House for their simple respect of the bipartisan consistent prior practice in its response," he wrote.
Contribution: Associated Press
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