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Trump Jr. to Meet House Intelligence Panel in Russia Probe

Image: Trump Jr. to Meet House Intelligence Panel in Russia Probe
(AP)

Wednesday, 06 December 2017 09:37 AM

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, is set to be interviewed privately by the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday following disclosures that Democrats say must be explored in the probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia before the 2016 election.

The voluntary appearance will be Trump Jr.’s first face-to-face meeting with Congress since Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation leveled charges against four associates of President Donald Trump, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The House Intelligence panel’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, told reporters Tuesday the committee got a "large document dump" from Trump Jr. ahead of his appearance, but he didn’t offer details.

Trump Jr. met with the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, when he discussed details of a controversial meeting he attended at Trump Tower in Manhattan on June 9, 2016, during the presidential campaign, along with other campaign officials and a Russian lawyer. 

Democrats also are focusing on Trump Jr.’s private message exchanges with WikiLeaks during the campaign, at a time the website was publishing hacked Democratic emails. And Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, has been seeking details of a reported meeting in Kentucky in 2016 between Trump Jr. and a Russian official close to President Vladimir Putin.

Subpoena Requested

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina said Tuesday he expects to have Trump Jr. talk with his committee’s investigators but a date hasn’t been set. Separately, Senate Democrat Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday wrote a letter to the chamber’s Judiciary Chairman, Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, asking that Trump Jr. be subpoenaed to appear again before that panel.

"Recent revelations have shown beyond question that the American people can only feel certain that Mr. Trump Jr. has been fully forthcoming if he is subject to a subpoena," wrote Blumenthal of Connecticut.

Feinstein of California wrote a letter Tuesday requesting that White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn produce documents and agree to an interview. One of the topics, she said, is reports of a private meeting Trump Jr. had in Kentucky with Alexander Torshin, a Russian official close to Putin.

Feinstein said in her letter that it has been reported that Dearborn shared with other Trump campaign officials a request from Torshin to arrange a meeting between Donald Trump and Putin. She added, "Mr. Torshin ultimately met Donald Trump Jr. at a private dinner the night before Donald Trump spoke" at a convention of the National Rifle Association.

Trump Tower
 

Trump Jr. has said he set up the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to obtain damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton, but nothing came of it. Others attending were Manafort; Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, now a senior White House adviser; and lobbyist and former Soviet counterintelligence officer Rinat Akhmetshin.

The Trump campaign has dismissed the meeting as part of a Russian lobbying effort to amend a 2012 law known as the Magnitsky Act that placed sanctions on Russians for human rights abuses.

Trump Jr.’s private message exchanges with WikiLeaks occurred in the weeks before the election. Schiff has described the exchanges as a known interaction with a Kremlin "cut-out," or proxy. Blumenthal said in his letter to Grassley that the exchange was "among the most stunning disclosures" involving Trump Jr.

Trump Jr. acknowledged the communications last month but sought to minimize their significance, releasing on Twitter copies of what he said was the full exchange. In the messages, he mostly answered contacts from WikiLeaks politely or not at all, though he didn’t reject communications with the Julian Assange-fronted website.

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump praised WikiLeaks’ release of stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. But earlier this year, Trump’s Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a "nonstate hostile intelligence service" and singled out Assange as the leader of a hostile force that threatens the U.S.

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Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, is set to be interviewed privately by the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday following disclosures that Democrats say must be explored in the probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia before the...
trump jr, interview, house, intelligence, panel, russia probe
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2017-37-06
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 09:37 AM
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