Donald Trump, Jr., arrives to testify before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 12, 2019. (Getty/Saul Loeb)

Donald Trump Jr. appears before Senate Intelligence Committee for second time

Trump Jr. is set to answer questions about his communications with Russians during the 2016 election cycle


Shira Tarlo
June 12, 2019 4:02PM (UTC)

Donald Trump Jr. returned to the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee for a second closed-door interview Wednesday about matters related to several investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including that of former special counsel Robert Mueller.

Don Jr., the eldest son of President Donald Trump, reached a deal with the committee last month, capping off a lengthy and contentious feud between Republicans in the upper chamber that spilled out into the public few after the committee subpoenaed Don Jr.

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Don Jr. was set to appear before the panel for up to four hours and answer questions on six broad topics, including his own communications with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle and what he told his father about them. He first testified before the panel in 2017, but the committee has called back several witnesses back to Capitol Hill for follow-up questions, including the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner and his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, as it seeks to wrap up its long-running investigation into Russian meddling.

Don Jr., an executive vice president of the Trump Organization and a rising star on the conservative political scene, has been a person of interest in several investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election after it was revealed that he attended a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer promising "dirt" on his father's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

His appearance unleashed a frenzy, as the president and his congressional allies targeted Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a member of their own party, over his decision to subpoena Don Jr. and urged the president's son to either ignore the subpoena or invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to answer questions from the panel. Trump questioned Burr's decision to subpoena his son after news broke of it last month, calling the move "very unfair."

Many of those criticizing Burr included his own Senate Republican colleagues, some of whom accused the North Carolina Republican of helping the Democrats by continuing the panel's investigation even after Mueller had wrapped up his probe, which concluded there was not enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Don Jr. eventually agreed to appear before the committee for an interview under the aforementioned terms. He is the first known member of the president's immediate family to have been subpoenaed in congressional investigations into Russian interference. He is expected to be asked about the timeline of a real estate development his father pursued during the 2016 election to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Michael Cohen, the president's former attorney who started his prison sentence last month in part for lying to Congress, initially said the timeline of that project to lawmakers as ending in January 2016. He later admitted that negotiations to pursue that development continued through June of that year, as the Republican primary elections began.

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You can watch video of Don Jr.'s arrival below: 


Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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