Republican senator takes GOP fire over Trump Jr. subpoena
May 12 2019
Committee sources would not confirm the subpoena or what they want to discuss with the president's eldest son, who now helps run the Trump Organization, the family's real estate empire, and helps his father re-election campaign.
Two people familiar with the subpoena tell The Associated Press that lawmakers want to ask the younger Trump about his 2017 testimony regarding its probe into Russian election interference.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, joined by Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in 2017.
The suggestion that Burr is failing to properly lead the committee is the first real sign of any dissention among its members, who have worked together quietly since the panel's Russian Federation investigation began in early 2017.
"Frankly, for my son after being exonerated and now, getting subpoenaed, and to go again to speak again after close to 20 hours telling everybody that would listen" about the Trump Tower meeting, Trump said, he was "very surprised" by the subpoena. The outrage was partially fueled by Trump Jr. and his own allies. "I think he'd rather not ever be involved", Trump said.
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.
But Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican member of the panel, said he thinks the criticism of Burr is "a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Senate intelligence committee is about", which is congressional oversight and not prosecution.
Burr's committee had renewed interest in talking to Trump Jr. after Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified earlier this year. Because that will be consistent with the Mueller investigation.
41, has testified voluntarily in private once to the committee, and was peppered with questions about a June 9, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in NY that he and other senior Trump campaign officials had with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Committee staffers have been conducting most of the interviews in the intelligence panel's probe.
It was not immediately clear when the panel issued the subpoena, which was first reported by Axios on Wednesday. However, McConnell also acknowledged an exception for the Intelligence Committee's probe, which he said should continue.
Part of that job, Warner said, was to ensure that the elections were "protected in 2020" - the same cycle in which most of Burr's critics will be facing their next political test.