Donald Trump Jr. has reached a last-minute agreement to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, avoiding what could have become a pitched political battle that pitted Republicans against their own party
The eldest son of President Donald Trump had been subpoenaed to testify by Senate committee chair Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina. The subpoena kicked off infighting in the Republican Party, with many taking aim at Burr for the move. As The Hill reported, Trump Jr. agreed to return to the committee for a second round of questions, meeting next month for between two and four hours.
The report noted that the Russia report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller left many unanswered questions about the 2016 meeting that Trump Jr. brokered with a Kremlin-connected lawyer who was offering dirt on Hillary Clinton that had been stolen by the Russian government. A source told The Hill that the upcoming testimony could cover this meeting as well as five to six other topics.
Trump Jr. had faced a deadline of 5 p.m. Monday to comply with the subpoena and agree to meet with the panel, but there was some question of whether Burr would back down due to pressure from fellow Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham who advised Trump Jr. not to comply with the subpoena.
Graham’s advisement drew considerable controversy and led to calls for the South Carolina Senator to resign. Once a critic of Trump, Graham has become one of his most fervent backers and has been especially aggressive in the wake of the Mueller report’s release, calling on opponents to move on and accept findings that Trump would not face charges.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 14, 2019
The legal team for Donald Trump Jr. had reportedly drafted a letter to the Senate panel saying that he would not comply, arguing that he had already testified for 25 hours. As The Hill reported, the letter was never delivered.
Donald Trump also picked up that line of argument in remarks to reporters at the White House.
“It’s really a tough situation because my son spent I guess over 20 hours testifying about something that [special counsel Robert] Mueller said was 100 percent OK,” Trump said. “And now they want him to testify again. I don’t know why. I have no idea why. But it seems very unfair to me.”
It was not yet clear when Donald Trump Jr. would testify before the panel, though it is set to take place sometime in mid-June.