Donald Trump has been having quite the chaotic day. His new 2020 poll numbers are staggeringly bad. He just gave a deranged new interview to ABC News. Hope Hicks just agreed to testify against him next week. So much news has happened today, it almost went under the radar that Donald Trump Jr finally testified today about his role in the Trump-Russia scandal before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The testimony took place behind closed doors, but CNN’s Manu Raju has reported on the gist of what Donald Trump Jr said. The upshot: Junior is sticking with his prior story on all counts, despite whatever testimony and evidence that the likes of Michael Cohen and Rick Gates have provided to the contrary.
This leaves things in an interesting place. Senate Intel Committee Chairman Richard Burr subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr to come back in and testify today because the last time he testified before the Senate, he said a number of things under oath that have since turned out to be false. Burr, a Republican who isn’t seeking reelection and isn’t under Donald Trump’s thumb like most of his GOP colleagues, seemed to be hoping that Junior would simply tell the truth this time and set the record straight.
Instead, Donald Trump Jr has decided to double down on his apparent perjury in the name of protecting his father. Junior has made his choice and now he’ll have to live with it. Richard Burr had to know that this outcome was a distinct possibility, and now he’ll have to decide what to do about it. Burr wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of forcibly hauling Trump Jr in to answer these questions unless he was prepared to make a countermove if Junior lied to him.
Richard Burr can refer Donald Trump Jr to the Department of Justice for alleged felony perjury, which certainly wouldn’t go anywhere under current corrupt Attorney General William Barr, but could lead to criminal charges once Barr and Trump are no longer in power. Perhaps more importantly, a criminal referral against Trump Jr in the Russia scandal – particularly from a Republican Senator – would send shockwaves across the political landscape.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report