The probe into President Trump’s possible collusion with the Russians on their interference in the 2016 U.S. election takes another step forward as Donald Trump, Jr. will speak with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He is the first member of the Trump campaign who attended the June 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer to speak with the committee.
Two Senate sources reportedly told CNN that Donald Trump, Jr. is expected to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, behind closed doors. This is yet another bad decision by Trump, Jr., as it is a crime to lie to Congress.
News: Donald Trump Jr. is expected speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee behind closed doors Thursday, two Senate sources tell @CNN
— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) September 6, 2017
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti weighed in on Junior’s “very bad decision”:
Another very bad decision by Trump Jr. It's a crime to lie to Congress and everything he says can be used against him. https://t.co/xPUAnuETKQ
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) September 6, 2017
The CNN reporting is a confirmation of a report in The Washington Post based on three Democratic members of the committee regarding Donald Trump, Jr’s planned meeting on Thursday.
The meeting is expected to “be comprehensive,” according to The Washington Post’s reporting Tuesday evening, and is the “first opportunity that members of the committee will have to grill someone from President Donald Trump’s inner circle about the campaign’s alleged attempts to engage with Kremlin surrogates, during a period when the intelligence community believes Russia was taking steps to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump’s candidacy.”
The problem the Trump campaign members are having is that Paul Manafort is likely facing serious criminal charges, and that makes him more likely to turn on other members.
Manafort and Kushner have already spoken to Senate Intelligence Committee, and Manafort’s lawyer is trying to block Special Counsel Robert Mueller from gaining access to that transcript.
The Judiciary Committee is headed by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who finagled the move to obstruct for 300 plus days former President Barack Obama from having his nominee for the Supreme Court even heard.
In August, a grand jury issued subpoenas in connection with the June 2016 meeting of key Trump campaign members, including Donald Trump, Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a Russian lawyer.
Anything Trump, Jr says in the Senate meeting can be used against him and it is a crime to lie to Congress. Sure, the Republicans leading the various Congressional investigations don’t seem too keen on protecting the United States from Russia’s interference, but the thing is, Robert Mueller’s investigation appears to be moving forward with a purpose and the intelligence community isn’t letting up. Republicans can’t appear to let the Trump campaign skate from even being questioned completely, since a lot of this is going to come out one way or another.
The real question is if Republicans, who lead both chambers, will take action to protect the United States from Russian interference in the midterm elections. So far, the answer to this question is no. They do not appear interested in taking real action, other than asking questions in committees.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.