The Republican senator who issued a subpoena last week for Donald Trump Jr. to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee told fellow Republicans last week that he did so only after Trump Jr. backed out of two previous agreements to appear, according to a published report.
But some GOP lawmakers made it clear over the weekend that they want to move on.
Staff of the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee interviewed President Donald Trump’s eldest son in 2017, but senators have said they want to explore his answers in depth in light of comments from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who chairs the committee, told colleagues at the GOP caucus lunch on Thursday that he issued the subpoenas because Donald Trump Jr. had been scheduled to be voluntarily interviewed, but twice backed out, The Associated Press reported.
It cited as its sources “three people familiar with the remarks.”
The AP reported that negotiations for testimony began in December and that the interviews had been scheduled for March and April.
CNN, citing a source it did not name, reported that Trump Jr.’s legal team had objected to the “scope and breadth of the planned interview.”
Burr, acting in consort with Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, then issued the subpoena to compel Trump to testify. The subpoena is the first issued by a congressional committee to one of the president’s children.
The issues the panel wants to discuss include plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and a much-discussed campaign meeting in Trump Tower in New York City with a Russian lawyer.
Cohen has said he briefed the president’s son about 10 times about the proposed Moscow project.
Donald Trump Jr. has said he was “peripherally aware” of the project.
In a Senate floor speech last week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared the whole Russian investigation to be “closed.”
Some Republican senators have agreed, calling for the Intelligence Committee to leave the matter alone.
I agree with Leader McConnell: this case is closed. The Mueller Report cleared @DonaldJTrumpJr and he’s already spent 27 hours testifying before Congress. Dems have made it clear this is all about politics. It’s time to move on & start focusing on issues that matter to Americans. https://t.co/11THs9LE0j
— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) May 9, 2019
The Russia investigation is over. After 2 years of Dem & media hysteria, after millions of dollars, after 2800 subpoenas, the Mueller Report found NO collusion. There’s no need for another subpoena for @DonaldJTrumpJr It’s time to move on & focus on issues Americans care about.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 9, 2019
.@GOPLeader says he doesn’t think the Senate Intelligence Committee should bring back Donald Trump Jr. to testify again: “It’s time to move on. Was there obstruction? No. Was there collusion? No.” pic.twitter.com/3pSTaTKvdA
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 12, 2019
On Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Trump Jr.’s attorneys should advise him not to cooperate further.
“If I were Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer, I would tell him, ‘you don’t need to go back into this environment anymore. You have been there for hours and hours and hours, and nothing being alleged here changes the outcome of the Mueller investigation,'” Graham said.
Sen. @LindseyGrahamSC: “If I were @DonaldJTrumpJr’s lawyer, I would tell him, you don’t need to go back into this environment anymore. You’ve been there for hours and hours and nothing being alleged here changes the outcome of the Mueller investigation. I would call it a day.” pic.twitter.com/WErnwfChdL
— Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) May 12, 2019
On Monday, Graham said another option for Trump Jr. was to show up but not speak up.
“You just show up and plead the Fifth and it’s over with,” Graham said, according to The Washington Post.
Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, told CNN that Burr is not pleasing his constituents by issuing the subpoena.
“I think the outcry from most of the people in North Carolina has been one of surprise — and certainly not supportive,” he said.
“If there’s one thing that I do hear from North Carolina voters it’s: ‘It’s time to move on.'”
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