by George Rasley
Just when you thought that #NeverTrump Republicans in the Senate might, just might be ready to “move on” as Majority Leader McConnell put it, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (an alleged Republican) has subpoenaed the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr to testify on matters related to the Mueller investigation.
The Don Jr has already testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in December of 2017, as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. And the Mueller report made no recommendations against him.
But Burr, not generally thought of the sharpest knife in the Senate’s GOP drawer, apparently decided to give the Democrats, including his odious Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), one more opportunity to grandstand for the cameras and to set a perjury trap for Don Jr.
According to ABC News, a source close to Don Jr. said there was an agreement between the president’s son and the committee that he would only have to come in and testify once as long as he was willing to stay for as long as they’d like, which the source said he did, having stayed with the panel for more than nine hours back in December 2017.
Trump Jr. has continued to provide documents as requested and as part of negotiations around this subpoena – which began weeks ago – he offered to answer questions in writing, according to a separate source close to the president’s son.
ABC News also reminded us that, in addition to his prior testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Trump Jr. also met with the Senate Judiciary Committee in September of 2017 for more than five hours and with the House Intelligence Committee for more than eight hours in December of 2017.
Axios, a favorite site for leakers to drop interesting nuggets, reports it’s the first congressional subpoena — that we know about — of one of President Trump’s children. The subpoena sets up a fight that’s unprecedented in the Trump era: A Republican committee chair pitted against the Republican president’s eldest son.
It’s also a sign, observed reporters Jonathan Swan, Alayna Treene and David Nather that the Russia investigations in Congress aren’t over despite the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it’s time to move on from the Russia probe.
A Senate Intelligence Committee spokesperson told Axios: “We do not discuss the details of witness engagements with the Committee. Throughout the investigation, the Committee has reserved the right to recall witnesses for additional testimony as needed, as every witness and witness counsel has been made aware.”
“Don and Senate Intel agreed from the very beginning that he would appear once to testify before the committee and would remain for as long as it took to answer all of their questions. He did that. We’re not sure why we’re fighting with Republicans,” a source close to Trump Jr. told Axios.
Swan, Treene and Nather claim that between the lines: Mueller, whose investigation did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and did not indict Trump Jr., despite speculation that he would.
To us this looks like this all goes back to claims made by disgraced Trump attorney Michael Cohen, now serving three years in the federal pen, who said Don Jr. was more involved in the defunct Moscow project than his testimony indicated.
If there was any there, there we can’t imagine it would not have been exhaustively plumbed by Robert Mueller and his team of 12 angry Democrats. The fact that Mueller found nothing and did not charge Don Jr. should be persuasive, unless you are Richard Burr and too dumb to see the political motivation behind the Democrats’ demands to draw the whole charade out or create a criminal referral to the Justice Department out of whole cloth.
We think Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and John Cornyn (R-TX) got it right in their reactions to the news of the subpoena:
Cornyn, speaking to reporters outside of the Judiciary Committee, said that he could “understand [Trump Jr.’s] frustration” and warned that ‘at some point … this smacks of politics.”
“At some point this is not about finding facts, this smacks of politics and I think we have an important job to do to try to keep the Intelligence Committee out of politics and just keep ourselves focused on our mission, which is oversight of the Intelligence Community,” said Cornyn.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is an ally of Trump’s, was the first GOP senator to publicly criticize Burr.
“Apparently the Republican chair of the Senate Intel Committee didn’t get the memo from the Majority Leader that this case was closed,” Paul said in a tweet.
We agree with Senators Paul and Cornyn, and will take it one step further – this is nothing more than a set-up and Donald Trump Jr. should tell Burr and Warner to go to Hell… if it will have them.