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Dems prepare to force Trump to reveal private talks with Putin

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16.02.2019

Reps. Eliot Engel (left) and Adam Schiff speak during a news conference in 2017. The pair are exploring how best to legally compel the Trump administration to turn over information related to the president’s one-on-one discussions with Vladimir Putin. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Legal

Key chairmen met with the House general counsel in a bid to put any subpoena fight on firm legal ground.

By ANDREW DESIDERIO

02/16/2019 06:51 AM EST

House Democrats are taking their first real steps to force President Donald Trump to divulge information about his private conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, setting up an extraordinary clash with the White House over Congress’ oversight authority.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman, and Rep. Eliot Engel, the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, told POLITICO they are actively consulting with House General Counsel Douglas Letter about the best way to legally compel the Trump administration to turn over documents or other information related to the president’s one-on-one discussions with the Russian leader.

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“I had a meeting with the general counsel to discuss this and determine the best way to find out what took place in those private meetings — whether it’s by seeking the interpreter’s testimony, the interpreter’s notes, or other means,” Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a brief interview.

It’s a development that indicates Schiff and Engel are close to taking action on the matter; key members of the majority party often consult with the chamber’s general counsel on issues that could end up playing out in court. Democrats want to ensure that they are on the strongest possible legal ground because they anticipate the Trump administration will mount spirited challenges.

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The move also........

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