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Can Congress Subpoena Trumpís Interpreter?
Hotair ^ | 07/18/2018 | Jazz Shaw

Posted on 07/18/2018 12:30:17 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

At first, it was mostly just Chuck Schumer calling for hearings over what happened at the Trump – Putin summit. As Allahpundit noted last night, unless there are a lot of Republicans willing to go along with the idea (including key committee leaders) that’s not likely to happen. But now some additional Democrats are jumping on the dogpile and getting more specific than simply calling for “hearings.” Joe Kennedy and Jeanne Shaheen want to know what was discussed during the private, two-hour conversation between Presidents Trump and Putin. But if neither of the leaders are choosing to divulge that information, how do they plan to get it? By issuing a subpoena for Trump’s interpreter. (Washington Times)

At least two Congressional Democrats want President Trump’s interpreter to testify about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

So curious are Democrats to learn what was said in Monday’s private meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin — there were no other officials in the room; only each man’s translator — that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Joe Kennedy III have each made the unusual request.

“I’m calling for a hearing with the U.S. interpreter who was present during President Trump’s meeting with Putin to uncover what they discussed privately. This interpreter can help determine what @POTUS shared/promised Putin on our behalf,” Ms. Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat, wrote Tuesday on Twitter.

I’m calling for a hearing with the U.S. interpreter who was present during President Trump’s meeting with Putin to uncover what they discussed privately. This interpreter can help determine what @POTUS shared/promised Putin on our behalf.

— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) July 17, 2018

This idea should immediately set off some alarm bells for anyone following the story. Keep in mind that we’re not talking about asking the President what he said or even issuing a subpoena for his aides who may have been in on the plans for the meeting. The interpreter is not part of the administration in any fashion. She’s a person who is literally acting as a tool, performing a function which can be (and while crudely, sometimes actually is) done by a computer application. She has no input on what is discussed and is hardly an expert on what may or may not be appropriate in such a negotiation.

To get to the title question, can they do that? I’ve been doing some checking and the short answer seems to be yes. Criminal courts of law have actually been ordering testimony from interpreters increasingly in recent years, but this creates a serious dilemma for the interpreter. Offering such testimony is a violation of one of the profession’s fundamental guidelines, known as the tenet of confidentiality. These situations are of such concern that MasterWord, an industry organization representing language professionals, has issued guidance on how to respond to subpoenas.

The bottom line is that compliance with the law and lawful orders of the courts overrides the professional requirement to adhere to the tenet of confidentiality, but the interpreters put themselves at risk of losing future work. They are advised to let their employers know when a subpoena is received to allow them the opportunity to respond or object if appropriate.

But those are criminal court cases. Refusing to cooperate could be seen as obstruction of justice. What about a congressional subpoena? There’s no formal finding that any law has been broken so the testimony isn’t going to be used for purposes of prosecution. This simply falls under the category of oversight, which is a nicer way of saying that some of the members of Congress are being nosy about what was said during a private conversation. Is the interpreter still bound to comply? A refusal could result in a contempt of Congress charge I suppose, but would they really toss the interpreter in jail for refusing to violate their professional code of conduct?

As mentioned above, this remains hypothetical for now. I don’t know if the GOP majority is going to be in the mood to cross swords with President Trump at that level. It could also be seen as the legislative branch usurping the power of the White House to handle foreign diplomatic relations. But if they do decide to go along with this scheme I certainly wouldn’t want to be that translator. She’s going to be in a very difficult position.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: bloggers; congress; europeanunion; fakenews; finland; helsinki; interpreter; nato; russia; subpoena; trumpputinmeeting
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1 posted on 07/18/2018 12:30:17 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

They can try but I doubt it.


2 posted on 07/18/2018 12:32:26 PM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Proud member of the DWN party. (Deplorable Wing Nut))
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To: SeekAndFind

The Leftists’ War on America continues.


3 posted on 07/18/2018 12:32:28 PM PDT by treetopsandroofs
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To: SeekAndFind

executive privilege. When did Obama allow private negotiations be given out with Iran.


4 posted on 07/18/2018 12:33:00 PM PDT by the_daug
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To: SeekAndFind
1- Congress has no oversight function as relates to Presidential interpreters.

2- If the interpreter were to respond to a subpoena, he could use the Stzrok approach and respond that the information is classified and only the President can declassify.

5 posted on 07/18/2018 12:33:09 PM PDT by G Larry (There is no great virtue in bargaining with the Devil)
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To: SeekAndFind

Well yes. They can subpoena Grover Cleveland if they want to. Next question...


6 posted on 07/18/2018 12:33:36 PM PDT by glock rocks (... so much win!)
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To: treetopsandroofs

The interpreter should only speak Russian before Congress.


7 posted on 07/18/2018 12:34:05 PM PDT by Col Frank Slade
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To: SeekAndFind
Damn this bunch of communists rotten jackasses. What America has become with these fools is sad. Trump should wake up and get busy cleaning the swamp and start legal ways to stop the communists judges and the MSM. It is time.
8 posted on 07/18/2018 12:34:10 PM PDT by Logical me
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To: EQAndyBuzz

No they can’t and they know it

It’s solely to keep their nauseous narrative in the forefront


9 posted on 07/18/2018 12:34:37 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat ("Moderates/Independents/Non-voters" Are DIMS REALLY who you'd want BACK in POWER?)
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This is what happens when you think the swamp is just gonna drain itself.


10 posted on 07/18/2018 12:34:57 PM PDT by proust ("The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday, but never jam today.")
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To: SeekAndFind

They would crap their pants to find out how tough Trump was on Putin ,but Obama ,Putin probably made him Kiss his feet


11 posted on 07/18/2018 12:34:57 PM PDT by butlerweave
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To: SeekAndFind

Rats in Congress double down on prom queen drama and stupid simultaneously!


12 posted on 07/18/2018 12:35:39 PM PDT by Reily
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To: SeekAndFind

That would come under executive privilege.

The interpreter is simply an extension of the president himself, and congress cannot subpoena the president due to separation of branches.


13 posted on 07/18/2018 12:35:46 PM PDT by xzins (Retired US Army chaplain. Support our troops by praying for their victory.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Typical leftist tactic.

I’m not sure this wouldn’t backfire on them. What if, after all the demands to have the interpreter testify, it turned out that he/she tells us that Putin told Trump that they changed 10 million votes in favor of HRC and she really lost massively? Or something similar.

Be careful what you wish for, libs.


14 posted on 07/18/2018 12:35:47 PM PDT by generally ( Don't be stupid. We have politicians for that.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Nope Separation of Powers and Executive privilege.


15 posted on 07/18/2018 12:35:50 PM PDT by Enlightened1
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To: EQAndyBuzz

If the Dems can get the Rinos to agree to issue a subpoena, it will be a piece of cake to find a willing judge to enforce it.


16 posted on 07/18/2018 12:36:09 PM PDT by damper99
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Seems like a pretty cut-and-dried separation of powers issue to me.


17 posted on 07/18/2018 12:36:43 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: SeekAndFind

“Can Congress Subpoena Trump’s Interpreter?”

It’s absurd that such a question is even asked in print.

The author is an idiot.

Apparently Jazz Shaw knows nothing of the law nor Executive Privilege.


18 posted on 07/18/2018 12:36:45 PM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: SeekAndFind
They could try but shortly find themselves running up against the Constitutional power separation.

Since a few claim to have been to legitimate law schools, they’d certainly look pretty stupid, at least to the voters - the media, not so much as j-school is pretty much like Head Start these days!

19 posted on 07/18/2018 12:36:54 PM PDT by zerosix (Native Sunflower..AMERICA! Designed by geniuses - now run by the idiots in Congress)
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To: SeekAndFind

The translator probably has a higher security clearance than Congress so she can’t discuss anything ,LOL


20 posted on 07/18/2018 12:38:23 PM PDT by butlerweave
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