Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, has been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee as questions linger from his past testimony in the upper chamber's Russia probe.
Trump Jr. is the first of the president's children to have been subpoenaed in congressional investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to The New York Times. Notably, while Democrats control the House of Representatives and are pursing multiple investigations into the Trump administration on the panels they chair in the lower chamber, the Senate is controlled by Republicans.
As the Times reported:
The committee is particularly interested in the younger Mr. Trump’s account of the events surrounding the Trump Tower meeting — as well as his role in his father’s efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow — and comparing the testimony to his previous answers to Senate investigators in 2017. Mr. Trump is a scion of President Trump’s global business empire and was one of his father’s close advisers during the election.
By asking to speak with Trump Jr., Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, have indicated they are not as determined to end Russia-related probes as some of their peers. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declared the "case closed" following special counsel Robert Mueller's report. The senator issued a call to "finally end this 'Groundhog Day' spectacle, and to stop endlessly relitigating a two-and-a-half-year-old election result and move forward for the American people."
Other Republicans in Congress have also claimed the submission of the Mueller report put an end to the controversy, even though Mueller himself said Attorney General Bill Barr misrepresented his findings about the issue of obstruction of justice.
In response to the news about Trump Jr.'s subpoena, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted that "@DonaldJTrumpJr has already spent dozens of hours testifying in front of Congressional committees. Endless investigations—by either party—won't change the fact that there was NO collusion. It's time to move on. It’s time to focus on ISSUES, not investigations."
The meeting that occurred at Trump Tower in June 2016 included Trump Jr., then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Veselnitskaya claimed to have "dirt" on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016 running against Trump, claiming that an American firm known as Ziff Brothers Investments had evaded Russian taxes and that two of the three billionaire brothers who had invested in the company had donated to Clinton and other Democratic candidates. Trump Jr. had also indicated a willingness to reevaluate America's stance on the Magnitsky Act, a law advocated by British billionaire Bill Browder for imposing economic sanctions against Russian human rights violators.
"Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it. I understand our side may have messed up, but it’ll take a long time to get to the bottom of it," Veselnitskaya later recalled Trump Jr. as saying.
Although Team Trump has maintained the meeting with Veselnitskaya did not constitute collusion, when the possibility of meeting a Russian lawyer was presented to Trump Jr. under the premise that the information could damage Clinton's campaign, the future president's son replied by email: "If it’s what you say, I love it — especially later in the summer."