Donald Trump Jr. made a phone call to a blocked number shortly after setting up an infamous Trump Tower meeting in 2016 in which a Kremlin-connected lawyer offered to share emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s team.
Now, House Democrats plan to find out exactly who was on the other end of that call.
As the USA Today reported, Democrats set to take control of the House Intelligence Committee are already preparing to expand the Russia investigation they say had been stymied by Republicans trying to protect the president. The meeting in question was arranged by Donald Trump Jr., who said under oath that his father had no knowledge of it. But Democrats say they intend to find out if that is true, seeking to unmask the blocked call that Trump Jr. made as he was arranging the meeting.
“Republicans refused to look at the phone records so that we could find out because they were afraid of what the answer might be,” said Democrat Adam Schiff, who is in line to become the committee chair when the new Democratic majority takes over early next year.
The Republicans leading the committee brought the investigation to a close in March, claiming there was “no evidence of collusion” between Trump’s campaign and Russia. But Democrats have accused them — especially chair Devin Nunes — of trying to protect the president from potentially damaging revelations and ending it prematurely. Democrats had said at the time there were additional witnesses that needed to be called and follow-up interviews not conducted. Those will likely take place in the coming weeks under Schiff’s leadership.
Schiff said he anticipates that there will be tension between the parties after Democrats take back control of the House, but hopes they will come together to conduct the investigation into potential Russian collusion.
“We can’t obviously force them to work with us,” he said. “They’ll have to make the decision for themselves whether they’re interested in finding out the truth or they’re interested in merely being extensions of (Trump attorney) Rudy Giuliani.”
House Democrats to Probe Blocked Number on Donald Trump Jr.’s Phone Records.
This could reveal whether he called Trump senior after the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian operative
— Derek Cressman (@DerekCressman) November 27, 2018
Donald Trump Jr. has reportedly been a target for Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, with reports that he could face indictment for lying about the Russia meeting and his knowledge of plans to collude with Russia. There could be some tension ahead, Salon reported, as Donald Trump’s newly named acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker could be able to use his office to protect Trump Jr. from indictment.