President Donald Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., will testify privately to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday as it investigates allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Trump Jr. had been invited to testify in public in a hearing in July, but reached an agreement to speak privately with committee staff.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is leading an investigation examining potential collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign. Several congressional committees are also looking into the matter, with the Senate and House intelligence committees conducting the main congressional investigations.
Trump Jr. is expected to testify before Senate Intelligence sometime later this year.
Congressional investigators have focused on a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower whose attendees included a Russian lawyer and lobbyist and Trump associates including his son, and what came out of it, if anything, in terms of the relationship between Russians and the Trump campaign or Trump business interests.
But wait! Isn’t that Devin Nunes sitting on the car? Good catch, Raisinettes! But what’s he doing in the picture? Glad you asked! From BUSINESS INSIDER:
The chairman of the House Intelligence Community threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Chris Wray in contempt of Congress if they did not respond to a subpoena for documents or testimony relating to the dossier alleging President Donald Trump’s ties with Russian officials.
It is unclear whether Nunes — whose signature was the only one to appear on the letter and who, as chairman, has the power to sign off on subpoenas — was acting on behalf of committee Republicans when he subpoenaed “any and all documents relating to the agencies’ relationship with former British Secret Intelligence Service officer Christopher Steele and/or the so-called ‘Trump dossier'” on August 24.
Nunes’ subpoenas, to which the DOJ and FBI apparently did not respond by the September 1 deadline, also covered documents “memorializing FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, any payments made to Mr. Steele, and efforts to corroborate information provided by Mr. Steele and his sub-sources — whether directly or via Fusion GPS.”
Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm, hired Steele in late 2015 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Trump on behalf of anti-Trump Republicans.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s ranking Democratic member, told MSNBC on Tuesday night that he was “perplexed” when the committee’s majority — likely represented by Nunes — told Democrats during the summer recess that they wanted to issue the subpoenas.
“We don’t subpoena parties unless they turn down our requests for information, which the DOJ and the FBI really hadn’t done,” Schiff said.
Schiff said Democrats have been wanting to subpoena the White House for documents related to the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, but the Republicans on the committee “have not been willing.” He also claimed that Republicans were trying to “antagonize the FBI and the DOJ, and trying to provoke a conflict” with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s election interference.
Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, echoed Schiff’s claim that the majority had operated outside of “standard practice” when it issued the subpoenas.
“The sole purpose of this subpoena is to discredit Christopher Steele instead of doing our due diligence to evaluate whether the claims in his report are true,” he said.
Experts have explained that the FBI’s use of the dossier to bolster the warrant means the bureau had enough confidence in the validity of the document to work to corroborate it and present it in court.
“In my long experience in dealing with FISA processing, unconfirmed information about a potential target cannot (and has not been) included in the application,” John Rizzo, the former acting general counsel of the CIA, said in an interview earlier this year.
“So, if the CNN report is accurate, then I have to believe that the FBI and Department of Justice concluded (and the Court agreed) that the info in the dossier about [Carter] Page was reliable,” Rizzo said, “and in all likelihood was backed up by other available intelligence.”
“I think what’s going on here is something I saw back in my days of a prosecutor,” Schiff told MSNBC. “Sometimes the defense opts for a strategy of trying to put the government on trial. And here I think there’s a hope that if they can impeach Christopher Steele, and if they can impeach the FBI and DOJ, then maybe they can impeach the whole Russia investigation.”