Another shoe is dropping in the Trump-Russia scandal, and this time it’s about to land on the head of Donald Trump Jr, in a way which will likely cause new legal trouble for himself and his father. Yesterday we brought you the story of how the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee were planning to force the release of Junior’s testimony transcript. Now that plan has worked.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse announced yesterday that they wanted the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote on whether to release the Donald Trump Jr transcripts. As Palmer Report pointed out at the time, based on the committee’s recent precedent, this meant that the transcripts were going to be released one way or the other; if the Republicans refused to vote on it, the Democrats would simply post it online. Sure enough, Chuck Grassley, the Republican Chair of the committee, is already responding.
Grassley announced today that he intends to release the transcript himself (link). We’ve heard this kind of thing from him before with regard to other transcripts, and we know he can’t be trusted to make good on his word. But Grassley just gave away any leverage he had, and he knows it. If he doesn’t go through with it, the Democrats will release it themselves, and he won’t be able to effectively condemn them for it, because he’s now on record as agreeing with them that it should be released.
So whether Chuck Grassley releases it to save face, or whether the Democrats release it because they’re fed up, we’re about to see what Donald Trump Jr said to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Trump-Russia scandal. Blumenthal has already promised that the transcript is “explosive” and Whitehouse has intimated that Junior lied during his testimony. While we’ll all enjoy digging through the transcript for clues, the important part is that Robert Mueller will get to do the same. He hasn’t gotten to interview Donald Trump Jr, but now he doesn’t have to. Junior is in huge trouble.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report