President Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin might be over, but many people are still scouring over the meeting to determine what exactly went on between the two leaders. In fact, Democrats want Trump's translator to testify before Congress amid growing outrage around his one-on-one meeting with Putin. And that's why you may be wondering: who is Marina Gross? Gross was the translator who heard how it all went down between Trump and Putin in their private meeting, and now everyone wants to know what she heard.
Gross was the only American besides Trump in his two-hour closed-door meeting with Putin during their summit in Helsinki, Finland on Monday, July 16. The meeting has fueled widespread speculation about the true relationship between the two leaders, especially because the U.S. intelligence community is in consensus that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election in a bid to help Trump win the race. As a result, several Democrats, including Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), are requesting that Gross be brought to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on what, exactly, was said between Trump and Putin — which, in turn, raises questions on who Gross actually is. Well, according to Business Insider, she has a pretty decorated resume.
Gross long predates the Trump administration: she's reportedly a long-time employee of the State Department, where she works as a translator for the government. She accompanied former first lady Laura Bush to Sochi, Russia back in 2008, and she was also spotted with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow in April 2017.
Many people are looking to Gross for answers when it comes to the Finland meeting because the circumstances surrounding its setup were so unusual. For starters, the president had decided to meet Putin without any aides, which concerned many U.S. officials, as it meant that part of the meeting would be without an official record and could, therefore, make it difficult to determine whether or not they reached any agreements.
When the meeting did finally roll around, Trump appeared to trust Putin's denial that Russia hadn't interfered in the election — despite the findings of his intelligence agencies — which resulted in further outrage. During a joint press conference with the Russian leader on July 16, Trump said, "President Putin just said it's not Russia. I don't see any reason why it would be."
Trump later attempted to clarify his comments on July 17, saying he meant to say he didn't see a reason why Russia "wouldn't" have interfered in the election. But that didn't stop the backlash from pouring in, nor the calls for Gross to testify before Congress on the details of the summit.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) expressed his desire to have Gross testify before Congress during an interview with MSNBC on July 18, saying:
We want the interpreter to come before the committee. We want to see the notes. We're gonna have a massive effort to try to get to what happened.
On July 17, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) took to Twitter to publicly ask for a hearing with Gross to "help determine what [Trump] shared/promised Putin."
On July 16, Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy tweeted that Trump sold out America's "security, democracy and credibility" and that Gross should, therefore, be subpoenaed immediately.
With such limited info around the Trump-Putin summit, it makes sense for people to want more details. But, hey: maybe those details will surface on their own — without getting Gross all wrapped up in this controversy.