Several lawmakers urge the Trump administration to release the transcript of the controversial meeting president Trump had last week with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador. Trump critics hope the transcript could shine some light on the allegations that the U.S. president leaked ‘highly classified’ information to the Russians.
Democrats and Republicans Demand the Transcript
Democrats in Congress have already asked the Trump White House to release any recordings of other Oval Office encounters after Trump bragged that he recorded one of his discussions with fired FBI Director James Comey earlier this year.
However, after The Washington Post reported that Trump shared sensitive state secrets with the Russians in last Wednesday’s meeting, lawmakers on both sides of the aisles demanded greater transparency from the embattled administration.
Experts noted that if the WaPo report is true, sharing classified info with a hostile nation could deal a hard blow to the national security and the U.S.’s allies. On Tuesday morning, Trump explained that he shared the info to encourage Russia to get more involved in the fight against terrorism.
Hours later, Senate Minority Leader Charles asked Trump to submit the transcript of the meeting to intelligence committees “ASAP”. He noted that leaking that type of info is “extremely dangerous” as it jeopardizes the lives of Americans and of those collecting intelligence on behalf of the U.S.
The White House should make the transcript of @POTUS‘ mtg w/ the Russian Foreign Minister & Ambassador available to Intel Cmtes ASAP
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 16, 2017
Schumer added that the American people have every right to be concerned about Trump’s capability of guarding state secrets until an ‘unedited’ transcript is made public.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont joined the chorus and slammed Trump for failing to protect the country’s national security. Sanders also called for a release of the transcript.
A week ago Trump fired Comey. Now this. It’s vitally important that Trump make public any recordings he has of talks in the Oval Office.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 15, 2017
A Subpoena Could Be the Best Course of Action
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R.-WI) acknowledged that Trump had the legal authority to make the disclosures, but he added that he shouldn’t have done it. Gallagher also thinks a full transcript of the meeting should land on the intelligence committees’ desks. The lawmaker, who worked as an intelligence officer, added that he knows “firsthand” the importance of not leaking classified information.
He argued that foreign allies now need reassurances that the classified info they share with the United States doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. The Republican thinks it is a naivety to believe the Russians can be trusted with the handling of top secret info.
Gallagher urged Trump’s Cabinet to better focus on dismantling the “Russian-Iranian axis” in the Middle East instead.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal suggested on the “Today” show that all recordings of Trump meetings with Comey and the Russians should be subpoenaed.
The Congress must subpoena transcripts and tapes, whether they exist or not,
the Democrat said.
Blumenthal thinks the intelligence committees should be the ones to issue the subpoenas and ensure the tapes reach the right congressmen. The lawmaker was confident a subpoena could reveal whether Trump really leaked classified info to Russia, as The Washington Post had suggested.
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