The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. in relation to his past testimony before lawmakers on a Trump Tower project in Moscow, Russia, reports Axios.
This is the first known congressional subpoena issued to one of President Trump’s children.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the committee is now at a standoff with Trump’s eldest son. CNN adds that Trump Jr. is considering invoking his Fifth Amendment rights or not appearing at all in response to the subpoena.
Trump Jr. testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 that he was “peripherally aware” of plans to expand his father’s businesses into Russia.
However, the president’s former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen claimed in his February testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Trump Jr. was far more involved in the project and said that he briefed both Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump on the project about 10 times.
A Senate Intelligence Committee spokesperson told Axios: “We do not discuss the details of witness engagements with the Committee. Throughout the investigation, the Committee has reserved the right to recall witnesses for additional testimony as needed, as every witness and witness counsel has been made aware.”
“Don and Senate Intel agreed from the very beginning that he would appear once to testify before the committee and would remain for as long as it took to answer all of their questions. He did that. We’re not sure why we’re fighting with Republicans,” a source close to Trump Jr. told Axios.
Discussions for Trump Jr’s testimony began several weeks ago before the Mueller report was released, the sources say. Trump Jr.’s team resisted giving testimony, in part, because the findings of the Mueller report were still not known.
During the negotiations, the idea to use written questions and answers was floated, and at another time it was proposed that Trump Jr. sit for an untranscribed interview, according to one source.
Trump Jr.’s position hardened after the report was released. The report stated that the special counsel’s team explored charging Trump Jr. and other campaign officials with campaign finance violations for the meeting they took with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton in 2016 but ultimately declined because they could not place a value on the materials offered and could not establish Trump Jr. knew he was violating the law. Mueller’s team also did not establish that there was a conspiracy between Russians and members of the Trump campaign, which Trump allies have used to embolden their position that the investigation was a “witch hunt.”