Earlier this week, President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., agreed to sit down for a transcribed interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the meeting he attended last summer with a Russian lawyer who promised him compromising information about Hillary Clinton and her campaign.
Less than 24 hours after the story broke about Trump Jr.’s interview, the president called the Judiciary Committee Chair, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and promised him federal support for the ethanol industry, for which Grassley is a major advocate.
When news about the call got out, people immediately assumed that Trump was trying to bribe Grassley into going easy on his son during the interview. Seemingly trying to get in front of these rumors, Grassley tweeted about the conversation early Wednesday morning:
‘Just had [phone] call from Pres Trump + he assured me he’s pro ethanol + I’m free 2 [tell] the ppl of Iowa he’s standing by his campaign PROMISE.
‘[Talked] 2 @realDonaldTrump about ethanol + he knows that ethanol is good good good.’
Based on the responses to Grassley’s tweets, it’s safe to say most of his followers are still considering Trump’s call to be an attempt at bribery.
Grassley’s spokesman also released the following statement about the call:
‘The president called Senator Grassley and talked briefly about ethanol. It was a two-minute conversation. Senator Grassley told the president he was glad to hear him voice his support for ethanol and that he would tweet about it to the people of Iowa. Nothing more specific about ethanol policies came up. The other topics that came up were Hurricane Harvey and Ambassador Branstad in China.’
Grassley has made it clear over the last few months that he’s taking all aspects of the investigation into Trump’s Russia connections — including Trump Jr.’s involvement — very seriously, so it’s no wonder Trump tried to win him over on Wednesday. However, it seems unlikely that Grassley will change his position, even after Trump’s attempted bribe. In fact, it would be dangerous for him to do so after he let everyone know about his call with the president.
The American people will surely be watching Grassley closely as his committee continues to investigate Trump Jr., and anything that looks like favoritism from him will not be well-received.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.