Like father, like son — this week during an appearance on Fox News, Donald Trump Jr. whined he’d been supposedly unfairly treated by investigators looking into the Russia scandal. One of those chief investigators — newly installed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — shot down those claims on CNN this week, letting the looming specter of possible further investigation of Trump Jr. pervade his remarks.
Trump Jr. had claimed that Schiff probably leaked portions of his testimony from when he came before his committee, which figures into a broader longstanding Trump team effort to discount essentially the entire Russia investigation as just political showmanship. As Schiff explained, no, he did not engage in some kind of petty partisan leak war, but he was and is willing and ready to reveal when a witness refuses to cooperate with questioning.
Trump Jr. apparently claimed a form of privilege when answering questions from the House Intelligence Committee about conversations with his father, despite the fact that as Schiff noted, neither Trump Jr. nor President Donald Trump are attorneys and there’s no sort of “father-son privilege” enshrined in the law. Trump Jr. had been facing questions about the infamous meeting he took in 2016 at Trump Tower with the idea he would be receiving Russian government dirt on Hillary Clinton.
As Schiff put it:
‘He has been making this claim all along. What upsets Don Jr… is he was saying, ‘I’m fully cooperating with Congress, I’m answering questions.’ Then he goes before our committee and refuses to answer a whole host of questions, making completely false claims of privilege. We called him out on it as we have done with other witnesses.’.. So they cannot mislead the public into thinking they are answering our questions.’
Previously, fellow House Intel Democrat Jackie Speier has said that Trump Jr. would be the first to be slapped with a subpoena once her committee’s Russia investigation got going again.
More specifically, Schiff has asserted that his committee will be going after a key piece of information involving Trump Jr. — what blocked number he called while planning that infamous Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
The Trump team has claimed that the president did not know about the meeting and concurrently wasn’t the recipient of the call, although at the time on the campaign trail, he was promising incoming dirt on his then-opponent. Trump Jr. has claimed since the meeting he took didn’t actually produce any such dirt, it should be considered innocuous and his father has added that anyone involved in politics would have taken the meeting.
That’s not exactly the case, however. It’s not run-of-the-mill politicking to hold secret meetings with an adversarial foreign power seeking to tilt domestic political affairs in their favor.
Schiff is not the only one on the case, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team also continuing its work. Although they’ve consistently been very quiet about the progress of their investigation, there are reports suggesting they’ve been working on their final report — and that the Trump team is freaking out.
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