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.

Just Posted

Pirko found guilty in the 2014 second-degree murder of Chris Ausman

A Kelowna jury found Steven Randy Pirko guilty of the second-degree murder

Grievance dismissed: Kelowna bus driver loses case after texting on job

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

UPDATE: Dog bitten by rattlesnake in West Kelowna “going to be OK”

The dog, Bella, is recovering after being bitten on a hike at Rose Valley Trails

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sun and heat continue Saturday

Environment Canada forecasts highs of 30 C throughout the Okanagan Saturday

Kootnekoff: “Sorry, can’t help you.” Privacy as an excuse

How many times have you heard it? You ask for critical information… Continue reading

VIDEO: Horseback riding helps North Okanagan residents with special needs

North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association needs more volunteers to continue offering sessions

Teen stabbed after end-of-night limo dispute in downtown Vancouver

A young man, 19, is in serious condition following a dispute between two groups

Letter: Homeless need more than handouts

To the editor: Re: Solutions to homelessness I firmly believe that automation,… Continue reading

Letter: Drug addicts taking over downtown

To the editor: In regards to the current state of the City… Continue reading

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Most Read