After weeks of contentious negotiation, Donald Trump Jr. agreed on Tuesday to comply with the Republican Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr’s (R., N.C.) subpoena-backed demand that he sit for a private interview with members of the panel, the New York Times first reported.
Trump Jr. has reportedly agreed to speak to lawmakers about a limited range of topics for between two and four hours sometime in mid June.
Burr told fellow Republican senators last week that he was forced to issue a subpoena demanding Trump Jr.’s appearance after he skipped two previously scheduled appointments to sit for an interview, the Times reported on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, President Trump called the Senate Intelligence Committee’s move to subpoena his son “unfair.”
“It’s really a tough situation because my son spent over 20 hours testifying about something that Mueller said was 100 percent okay. And now they want him to testify again. . . . I have no idea why, but it seems very unfair to me,” Trump said, referring to the closed-door testimony his son provided about the infamous Trump Tower meeting.
In the wake of Robert Mueller’s report, Democrats and a subset of Republicans have argued that the meeting, in which Trump Jr. and other campaign officials met with a Kremlin-linked attorney, warrants further investigation.
Like the president, Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) has argued that compelling further testimony from Trump Jr. is an unnecessary act of political theater.
“You just show up and plead the Fifth, and it’s over with,” Graham told reporters on Monday. “You’d have to be an idiot as a lawyer to put your client back into this circus, a complete idiot.”
Other prominent Republicans, such as Kentucky senator Rand Paul, have chastised Burr from breaking ranks by continuing to pursue his investigation into Trump campaign activities after the conclusion of Mueller’s probe.
Apparently the Republican chair of the Senate Intel Committee didn’t get the memo from the Majority Leader that this case was closed… https://t.co/jvV5PIX266
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 8, 2019
In his report, Mueller explained that he and his team considered charging Trump Jr. and others with campaign-finance violations for agreeing to meet with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya based on their understanding that she could provide damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Lawmakers reportedly plan to press Trump Jr. on his previous claim that only Jared Kushner and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort were aware of Veselnitskaya’s offer, based on new evidence included in the Mueller report that suggests he informed the campaign’s entire senior staff.