The Senate judiciary and intelligence committees are investigating Russian meddling
The judiciary panel met behind closed doors last week with Donald Trump Jr.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate judiciary committee, said Monday she expects Donald Trump Jr. to return to the Senate at some point for a public hearing about his meeting last year with a Russian lawyer and others.
Trump Jr. was interviewed by Senate judiciary staff for close to four hours last week. Asked if she expected Trump Jr. to return, Feinstein told CNN, “I do – come hell or high water.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who has amped up his committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the US elections, was noncommittal on Tuesday when asked about the possibility of a public hearing.
“I’m going to talk to Sen. Feinstein about that, and make a decision after we talk to her,” the Iowa Republican told CNN.
But interest in Trump Jr. from Hill investigators has remained steady since he released an email chain showing plans to meet with a Russian lawyer and others to obtain dirt on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Senate intelligence committee Chairman Richard Burr said Monday that he expects his committee will want to interview as many people who were in the room for that meeting as possible. In addition to Trump Jr., the Senate intelligence committee has already spoken with former campaign chairman Paul Manafort (and collected his notes of the meeting) and Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said last week that he wanted to speak with Rinat Akhmetshin – a Russian-American lobbyist who also attended the meeting with Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort – before calling on Trump Jr.
Burr called it a “safe assumption” that they would bring in more people from the June 2016 meeting before getting to Trump Jr. But he did note one possible hurdle – the lawyer who met with them, Natalia Veselnitskaya, cannot be compelled to testify because she is not an American citizen.
“Can’t compel her,” Burr said with a laugh. “All I can do is use my charm and good looks.”