Senate GOP refuses to question Trump Jr. about lying to Congress even with new evidence
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is once again rejecting calls to bring Donald Trump Jr. back in to testify before the committee, even in the face of new evidence indicating that the president’s son may have lied to Congress during sworn testimony.
Grassley said Monday that he did not see a need to re-interview Don Jr. because “there is nothing inconsistent” about his prior statement to the committee in which he claimed that he was only “peripherally” aware of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations.
This comes just days after Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Moscow real estate deal, which Donald Trump was allegedly pursuing during the presidential campaign through at least June 2016, despite previous claims that the negotiations ended in January of that year.
In his plea deal, Cohen said he had kept Trump’s family members briefed on the talks through summer of 2016. Although the names of the family members were not specified, multiple reports indicate that Don Jr. and Ivanka were heavily involved in the Moscow dealand would have known that negotiations to build the property were still going on at the height of the 2016 campaign.
In light of the new information regarding the Trump Tower Moscow deal, Democratic lawmakers want to bring Don Jr. back to address the potentially false statements he made in previous testimony.
On Monday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released a statement calling into question the truthfulness of Don Jr.’s testimony, with an emphasis on three areas of particular concern: the Trump Tower Moscow deal; offers of foreign assistance to the Trump campaign; and the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting when Don Jr. met with a Russian government lawyer promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
“Lying to Congress is a federal crime & the Judiciary Committee must determine if facts were deliberately omitted or misstated to mislead & prevent us from getting to the truth. Chairman Grassley, we must have Donald Trump Jr. & other key witnesses re-appear before the Committee,” Blumenthal (D-CT) said in a tweet.
Lying to Congress is a federal crime & the Judiciary Committee must determine if facts were deliberately omitted or misstated to mislead & prevent us from getting to the truth. Chairman Grassley, we must have Donald Trump Jr. & other key witnesses re-appear before the Committee. pic.twitter.com/tfQEshrqTJ— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) December 3, 2018
According to CNN, Don Jr. has testified under oath about the proposed Trump Tower Moscow deal to at least three congressional committees.
In September 2017, shortly after the details of the Moscow deal were made public for the first time, the House Judiciary Committee asked Don Jr. about his role in the project. At the time, he said he was “peripherally aware of it” but that most of his knowledge of the real estate venture “has been gained … over the last few weeks.”
He also testified about the Moscow deal before the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
Despite his claims of being only peripherally aware of the negotiations, recent reportsindicate that both Don Jr. and Ivanka not only knew about Cohen’s efforts to broker a deal to build Trump Tower Moscow in 2016, but “were also working to make Trump Tower Moscow a reality.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into their involvement in the Moscow talks, but Grassley apparently doesn’t think Don Jr.’s potential perjury is worth the time to investigate further.
Taking a cue from Trump, Grassley claimed this week that allegations that Don Jr. lied to Congress are based on “fake news.”
At the same time, however, Grassley and other GOP leaders are pushing for criminal investigations of witnesses who they believe gave misleading statements during the Kavanaugh hearings, and during testimony surrounding the so-called “dossier.”
This is not the first time Don Jr. has been accused of lying to Congress during the course of the Russia investigation — nor is it the first time Trump’s GOP allies have helped provide cover for witnesses who may have perjured themselves in congressional testimony.
All of this, of course, begs the question: If Republicans don’t think Don Jr. did anything wrong, why are they going to such great lengths to keep it covered up?
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Caroline Orr.