The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr., Axios reported on Wednesday evening, requesting that he return to appear before the Senate for the first time since September 2017, when he testified before the Judiciary Committee.
A source close to the president’s eldest son said that when he testified in 2017, he made an agreement “that he would only have to come in and testify a single time as long as he was willing to stay for as long as they’d like, which Don did.” Now, Trump Jr. is reportedly considering invoking his Fifth Amendment rights; according to CNN, another strategy he’s mulled over is “just to not appear at all.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Republican Richard Burr, had reportedly discussed bringing in Trump Jr. weeks before the release of the Mueller report. At the time, the president’s son was said to be reluctant to testify because Mueller’s findings had yet to be released. The subpoena appears to be the first issued to a Trump family member.
If he does appear before the committee, Trump Jr. will likely have to respond to inconsistencies between his 2017 testimony and details described in the Mueller report. In his testimony, Trump Jr. said that prior to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, he only talked to Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort about the rendezvous, in which a Russian lawyer was prepared to offer dirt on Hillary Clinton. But the Mueller report states that the young Don had told a meeting of campaign officials and family members that “he had a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation” in the week prior to the meeting.
There are similar incongruities regarding Trump Tower Moscow: In his 2017 testimony, Trump Jr. said he was only “peripherally aware” of the project in the Russian capital. But according to Michael Cohen, he had briefed Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump about the Russian real-estate deal around ten times. Trump Jr. declined to speak with the special counsel’s investigators, and they did not subpoena him.
News of the subpoena emerged the day after Mitch McConnell said that the conclusion of the Mueller investigation meant “cased closed” on the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts in Russia. The Trump administration and its complicit Department of Justice agree, considering their open disdain for House Democrats seeking the redacted information in the Mueller report. But the decision by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee shows that the entire GOP apparatus is not prepared to shut the book on Trump-Russia.