The chairmen of three House committees on Monday wrote letters to the White House and the State Department requesting documents on President Trump’s communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing “profound national security, counterintelligence, and foreign policy concerns.”
The request comes on the same day House Democrats made a sweeping demand for documents from dozens of people with connections to Trump amid an investigation into potential obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.
In their letters, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) made note of media reports that Trump has sought to conceal the details of his communications with Putin.
If those reports are true, Trump’s actions “undermine the proper functioning of government,” the lawmakers said in their letters, which were sent to Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“Congress has a constitutional duty to conduct oversight over the Department and the White House to determine, among other things, the impact of those communications on U.S. foreign policy, whether federal officials, including President Trump, have acted in the national interest, and whether the applicable laws, regulations, and agency procedures . . . have been complied with and remain sufficient,” they said in the letter.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose panel is spearheading the broader document request, is seeking similar records. Nadler has asked the White House for “contents of meetings between President Trump and Vladimir Putin on July 7, 2017, November 11, 2017, July 16, 2018 and November 30, 2018.”
Schiff, Cummings and Engel sent a letter to Mulvaney last month requesting information on whether Trump destroyed information regarding his meetings with Putin, but the three chairmen said they did not receive a reply.
In January, The Washington Post reported that on at least one occasion, Trump had taken the notes from his interpreter after a meeting with Putin and told the linguist not to discuss the meeting with administration officials.
As a result of Trump’s pattern of shielding his communications with Putin, there is no detailed record of his face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years, according to U.S. officials.
Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller contributed to this report.