Trump Jr. agrees to testify in Senate Russia probe

With Democrats suspecting president’s son may have misled in past testimony, Intelligence Committee chair Burr, a Republican, issues subpoena in bid to finish meddling probe

In this February 11, 2019 photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a rally before US President Donald Trump addresses the audience in El Paso, Texas. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)
In this February 11, 2019 photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a rally before US President Donald Trump addresses the audience in El Paso, Texas. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump’s son Donald Jr. has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian election meddling, US media reported Tuesday.

The agreement resolved a looming fight between the Congress and the White House after Donald Jr. was subpoenaed by the Republican-led committee last week.

According to reports, he had initially agreed to testify behind closed doors and then backed out for unclear reasons.

But President Trump is battling any cooperation with Congress in the Russia meddling investigation, claiming that he has already been “totally exonerated” of collusion and obstruction of justice by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report completed in late March.

The Senate panel has interviewed Donald Jr. once before, and is believed to be seeking clarification on his knowledge of contacts between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russians.

Senators (l to r) Dianne Feinstein, Mark Warner and Richard Burr walk to a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee closed door meeting on May 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/AFP)

Some Democrats suspect he may have lied about what he and his father knew of a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, as well as other connections between the two sides.

Seeking to complete their own report on Russian election interference, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr risked the wrath of the White House and his Republican party by issuing a subpoena for Donald Jr.

Finally, according to multiple reports, Donald Jr. agreed to testify in early or mid-June, behind closed doors and with limits on time and the questions he will answer.

Trump lawyer also pressed to testify

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats on Tuesday scheduled former White House lawyer Don McGahn to testify about events described in the special counsel’s report, setting up another clash with President Trump.

McGahn has not confirmed his attendance at the House Judiciary Committee’s May 21 hearing, and Trump has indicated he will assert executive privilege to resist Democrats seeking materials or testimony related to Russian meddling and alleged collusion.

In this February 22, 2018, photo White House counsel Don McGahn speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at National Harbor, Maryland. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“I’ve had him testifying already for 30 hours,” Trump told Fox News last week. “So I don’t think I can let him and then tell everybody else you can’t.”

The White House is seeking to shield a large swathe of material — including redacted portions of Mueller’s report — that was subpoenaed by lawmakers seeking to exert their oversight responsibility.

The report details how Trump’s lawyers and advisers, including McGahn, repeatedly rebuffed the president’s attempts to halt Mueller’s investigation — which some analysts say amounts to illegal obstruction by the president.

The House committee’s chairman, Democrat Jerry Nadler, has said he wants Mueller himself to testify but no date has been set.

Trump said this month that Mueller should not testify before Congress, but he reversed course last week, saying he would leave that decision up to Attorney General Bill Barr.

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