Adam Schiff Disrupts Hearing on China in Botched Attempt to Subpoena Trump-Putin Interpreter

Trump has faced criticism for excluding national security advisers, Pompeo from meeting with Putin

Adam Schiff
Adam Schiff / Getty Images
• July 19, 2018 11:10 am

House Republicans blocked an effort by Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) on Thursday to subpoena the interpreter who translated for President Donald Trump during a private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.

Schiff introduced the motion during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Chinese threat to American national security.

"This is an extraordinary remedy, I realize, but then it's extraordinary for the President of the United States to ask all of his senior staff essentials to leave the room and have a conversation with an adversary," Schiff, the committee's ranking member, said before calling for a vote to subpoena the interpreter to testify.

"I regret that we have to request this in today's meeting. We requested a business meeting next week, but that request has been declined. This may be our last opportunity before we go into an extended recess to vote to subpoena the interpreter and find out if there are any other national security problems that arose from this meeting," he added.

Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) initially refused to recognize Schiff's motion and repeatedly prompted him to deliver his opening statement. Schiff moved to appeal the denial of recognition, but was ultimately blocked before Nunes called the session into recess.

When the committee returned, lawmakers voted along party lines, 11-6, to table the motion. Schiff then made his opening statement on Chinese threats, but took to Twitter to lament the motion's failure.

President Donald Trump has faced widespread criticism, including from members of his own party, for excluding his national security advisers and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from a closed-door meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Members of Congress accused Trump of undermining the U.S. intelligence community during a successive press conference on Monday in which the president embraced Putin's denial that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.