Senate Judiciary Panel Readies to Grill Don Jr.

Don Jr. and Trump supporter

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear Donald Trump Jr’s defense to allegations that he had contacts with Russia on the campaign trail that he failed to disclose. Three people familiar with the matter said the meeting would be comprehensive as it is the first time the judiciary panel has the opportunity of grilling one of Trump’s closest campaign associates on Russia.

Don Jr. is the first Trump campaign associate of those who met with a Kremlin-tied lawyer last June to discuss the issue with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Panel members plan to talk with Trump’s then-campaign chair Paul Manafort and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who both attended the meeting.

Don Jr. claims that he agreed to meet with the Russian operative because the Kremlin had promised damaging information on his father’s rival Hillary R. Clinton. Kushner and Manafort were present at the meeting but left before it ended.

Don Jr’s Testimony of No Real Value

The chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr believes that Don Jr. cannot offer Senators more info than he has already conveyed. Burr added that his panel would interview Jr. even though there is no real value in his testimony.

Burr said Tuesday his committee plans to end the inquiry by the end of the year. He is confident the deadline is achievable, unless “something that we don’t know today” pops up.

Senate Judiciary Committee’s chair Charles E. Grassley provided no deadlines for his panel’s investigation. Grassley first summoned Don Jr. and Manafort to testify in July. Manafort is well-known for his business ties to a Russia-linked Ukrainian party and had to retroactively register as a foreign agent early this summer.

The panel eyes Manafort as well, but it has yet to schedule a meeting. Sen. Richard Blumenthal unveiled that the former Trump campaign surrogate has been more “resistant” than Don Jr., which may be the reason for the delay.
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