WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Intelligence Committee has struck a deal with Donald Trump Jr. to appear for a closed-door interview next month, pulling the two sides back, for now, from a confrontation over a subpoena as part of the panel’s Russia investigation.
Under the terms of the deal, according to two people familiar with the agreement, Trump Jr. will talk to the committee in mid-June for up to four hours. The people spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday to discuss the confidential terms.
The deal comes after the panel subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s eldest son to discuss answers he gave the panel’s staff in a 2017 interview. Trump Jr. had backed out of interviews twice, prompting the subpoena, according to people familiar with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr’s remarks to a GOP luncheon last week. Those people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Burr’s remarks in the private senators’ meeting.
The deadline for Trump Jr. to respond was Monday, according to one of the people familiar with the terms, and he expected to be held in contempt for declining to be interviewed. But the committee reached out Monday evening and the deal was struck.
A spokeswoman for Burr declined to comment. The North Carolina Republican has weathered fierce criticism for the subpoena from the president and his GOP colleagues.
Trump said on Tuesday said he believed that his son was being treated poorly.
“It’s really a tough situation because my son spent, I guess, over 20 hours testifying about something that Mueller said was 100 percent OK and now they want him to testify again,” Trump told reporters at the White House before traveling to Louisiana. “I don’t know why. I have no idea why. But it seems very unfair to me.”
It’s the first known subpoena of a member of the president’s immediate family, and some Republicans went as far as to say they thought Trump Jr. shouldn’t comply.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., tweeted, “It’s time to move on & start focusing on issues that matter to Americans.” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a GOP member of the panel, said he understood Trump Jr.’s frustration. Cornyn’s Texas colleague, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, said there was “no need” for the subpoena.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on “Fox News Sunday” that if he were Trump Jr.’s lawyer, “I would tell him, ‘You don’t need to go back into this environment anymore.’”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has defended Burr, telling his colleagues during the private GOP luncheon last week that he trusted the intelligence committee chairman. On Tuesday, McConnell told reporters that “none of us tell Chairman Burr how to run his committee.”
Still, McConnell made it clear that he is eager to be finished with the probe, which has now gone on for more than two years.
Burr has “indicated publicly he believes they will find no collusion” with Russia, McConnell said. “We’re hoping we will get a report on that subject sometime soon.”
It’s uncertain when the panel will issue a final report. Burr told The Associated Press earlier this month that he hopes to be finished with the investigation by the end of the year.
The subpoena has highlighted a delicate bind facing Burr, a third-term senator who has said he is not running for reelection in 2022. He has been adamant that the panel’s Russia probe be bipartisan and fair and has worked closely with the panel’s top Democrat, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.
Burr’s committee had renewed interest in talking to Trump Jr. after Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, told a House committee in February that he had briefed Trump Jr. approximately 10 times about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow before the presidential election. Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a separate interview in 2017 he was only “peripherally aware” of the proposal.
The panel is also interested in talking to the president’s eldest son about other topics, including a campaign meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.
Judge Orders Parts of Mueller Report Un-Redacted In Michael Flynn Case
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has ordered portions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be un-redacted and made public in the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued the limited order Thursday. Portions of the report relating to Flynn are redacted and would be made public under the order.
It is the first time a federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to make public portions of the report the agency had kept secret.
Mueller officially concluded his investigation in March. Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of Mueller’s report in April.
Flynn is awaiting sentence after admitting to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Michael Flynn Assisted In Mueller’s Obstruction, WikiLeaks Investigations
As part of his guilty plea, President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn assisted special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigations into the Trump campaign’s discussions of WikiLeaks, as well as “potential efforts to interfere or otherwise obstruct” the special counsel, according to a new court filing.
Details: The filing, which states that Flynn is ready for sentencing, claims that the former top Trump aide informed prosecutors of multiple instances in which “either he or his lawyers received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation.” The filing also states that Flynn “provided a voicemail recording of one such communication.”
- On the WikiLeaks front, Flynn gave prosecutors statements made in 2016 by Trump campaign officials after the release of the Podesta emails in which “the prospect of reaching out to WikiLeaks was discussed.”
Why it matters: This filing suggests Flynn was a far more valuable witness to Mueller than previously known.
(Reporting by Axios)
Read the full court filing:
Donald Trump Jr. Will Likely Not Comply With Senate Intelligence Committee Subpoena In Russia Probe
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump Jr. is unlikely to comply with a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena to testify about his contacts with Russia, two congressional sources said on Thursday as the president publicly defended his eldest son.
The sources said Trump Jr is expected to cite his Fifth Amendment constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination, a day after reports that the Republican-led panel had issued what is the first publicly known subpoena for a member of the president’s family.
Trump, who has blasted the investigations into him and Russia, defended his son, who runs the Trump Organization – a private business that the Republican president still owns.
“I was very surprised,” Trump said at a White House event intended to highlight healthcare. “My son’s a very good person. Works very hard.”
Lawyers for Trump Jr. did not respond to requests for comment and a White House spokesman declined to comment.
Discussions between the Republican-led panel and Trump Jr. about his possible testimony have been going on for months, according to the sources, who asked not to be named given the panel’s ongoing probe.
Lawmakers on the Republican-led committee, which is among several congressional panels investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, want to question Trump Jr. about his contacts with Moscow.
Trump Jr. had appeared before the panel previously to answer questions from committee staff, according to congressional sources. The subpoena was issued now because Senators want to question him themselves, they said.
The sources said the senators want to question Trump Jr. about testimony he gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 which was subsequently contradicted by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who started his prison sentence this week in part for lying to Congress.
Led by Republican chairman Richard Burr, the intelligence panel is the only committee in the Republican-controlled Senate that has been conducting a bipartisan investigation into allegations of Russian interference in U.S. politics.
The reported subpoena prompted sharp rebukes from some of Trump’s staunchest defenders within the party as Republicans sought to move on from a two-year investigation by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose findings were released in part last month.
Mueller’s team of prosecutors said there was a “reasonable argument” that Trump Jr. had violated campaign finance laws but concluded they did not believe they could obtain a conviction.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor with a speech seeking to close the door on the investigations, declaring “case closed.”
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