Over the weekend, Palmer Report pointed out that if Donald Trump Jr defied his subpoena, and GOP Senator Richard Burr moved to have him held in contempt, it would set up a contempt hearing spectacle that would be ugly for Senate Republicans no matter which way they voted. We predicted that the GOP Senate would push Junior behind the scenes to cave and agree to testify, in order to avoid the spectacle.
Sure enough, after unnamed GOP Senators hinted to Politico yesterday that they were willing to have Trump Jr held in contempt regardless of the consequences, he’s now agreed to show up and testify. According to NBC News, he’ll testify in person about the Trump-Russia scandal in mid-June. In other words, Junior has caved to the pressure coming from elements in his father’s own party – and that’s a big deal.
Even though the Senate Intelligence Committee is controlled by the GOP, several influential Democratic Senators are on the committee, and they’ll each get their chance to grill Donald Trump Jr to his face while he’s under oath. He’s already lied under oath about the Trump-Russia scandal to the Senate Judiciary Committee. If he lies again when asked the same questions, Richard Burr can make a perjury referral against him. If Junior tells the truth this time, Burr can also make a perjury referral against him, for having lied last time. It would set up a situation where, the minute Donald Trump is out of office, Junior could be arrested and tried for perjury.
Showing up and testifying is a no-win situation for Donald Trump Jr, no matter what he says during his testimony. And while he’s been given some minor concessions about topics and timing, they’re all superficial, seemingly designed to let him save face and pretend he hasn’t caved. His only possible reason for caving like this is that he fears the consequences to him may be even worse, and/or more immediate, if he doesn’t show up and testify. In essence, Junior is accepting future perjury charges in order to avoid having to face contempt charges now. These are the kinds of bad choices you make when you no longer have any good options to choose from.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report