Should Gross Testify?

A debate is raging over if the US translator who was at the one-on-one meeting between Putin and Trump should testify. People are resorting to pretty insane arguments as to why she shouldn’t:

And if she were to say what, exactly, transpired, she would violate an ethics code of confidentiality similar to lawyer-client privilege or the silence of a priest during confession.

This is utter bonk. There is no such ethics code, and the analogy us ridiculous. Of course, she should testify.

Priest confidentiality and lawyer confidentiality exist to protect people from being rolled over by the government. But the president is part of the government. In the meeting with Putin, he was the entirety of the US government.

P.S. NYTimes has made it extremely hard to link to them because I’m a subscriber. So if you see a source with no link, it is probably the NYTimes. You can find the entire text by googling the quote.

17 thoughts on “Should Gross Testify?”

  1. I agree with you in spirit. But in practise, I think her testimony would reveal nothing. I would be willing to bet good money that her answers would all be some sort of variation on the theme of “I don’t remember.” It would be a waste of time to question her.


    1. You think she’d lie under oath for him? Why, though? She’s not a young woman, I don’t think she can be easily intimidated. Interpreters with this kind of experience are very resilient psychologically.

      I never worked as an interpreter but I received the training. You are trained to be very resilient towards your subjects.


      1. Putin and Trump are both fairly wiley and this woman was the only other human being in the room during their meeting. I feel confident that she was handpicked not only for her language skills but also for her loyalty or “discretion”.


        1. I’m sure it’s true but she’s not entitled to any personal loyalty because this wasn’t a private meeting between two individuals. They met as heads of state. It’s all part of the government work.


          1. Oh I completely agree with you. I just think that it is unlikely that her testimony will yeild any concrete information.


            1. I know Putin got something valuable out of him. I just know it. And if there’s any chance to find out, it should be taken. This is too important to be let go.


  2. We have recently talked about Germany, so here are the latest news:

    // Several people were injured in an assault by a man wielding a knife on a bus in northern Germany, police and witnesses said Friday. He has been arrested.

    According to Lübecker Nachrichten, the attacker is an Iranian man in his mid-30s.

    According to Israeli news site, 14 were injured.


  3. Most bodies that do Interpreter certification have a code of ethics or conduct. I checke the The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the National Board of if Certification for Medical Interpreters Association, and the American Translators Association and they all include confidentiality in their codes.

    I don’t think the confidentiality requirement would apply when an interpreter is asked to testify before Congress, but codes of ethics for interpreters are a real thing.


      1. True. It also depends on how seriously the interpreter takes this. There are tons of examples of journalists going to jail rather than revealing sources of information, I wonder if any interpreters would do the same.


        1. This is the first I’ve heard of ethics codes for interpreters and I don’t know how strong they are. I would obey the order unless compelled to by a court order of some kind. I’m not risking jail or my livelihood.


          1. This was an official meeting between two heads of state. Trump was at work which he’s paid to do by taxpayers when he was in the meeting. The work he did belongs to the taxpayers. We are effectively the ones paying the interpreter. So I don’t see how Trump can argue privacy concerns.


    1. Not to be a broken record, but “African victory” is precisely what the Russian media have been saying about it, verbatim. So yeah. . .

      And I wish we had ambassadors who would stand up for national unity and identity like this.


  4. There’s a difference between confidential and privileged. Things you say to a doctor or therapist are confidential, but they’re not privileged, which means they can be subpoenaed. Since very little is considered both confidential and privileged aside from conversations between lawyers and their clients, I have a hard time believing that the interpreter cannot testify. What she would say during that testimony is another matter.


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