Just one day after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to declare “case closed” on the Trump-Russia investigation, the GOP-chaired Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr., as reported by Axios. The president’s son had testified before several congressional committees in 2017 but apparently lawmakers from both sides of the aisle aren’t satisfied with what they had heard from him back then.
Given that Don Jr. has been subpoenaed today, it suggests that he failed to comply with an earlier request to voluntarily appear before the committee for further questioning. It is safe to assume that neither he nor his father is happy about the subpoena. After all, the senior Trump once suggested that going after his family would be a red line that nobody should cross. Interestingly and surprisingly, it is now being crossed by a Republican lawmaker. Proceedings may become quite contentious from here on out and it is possible that Donald Trump Jr. will resort to invoking the Fifth Amendment – which could still result in a subpoena battle.
Provided they can get Trump’s son to testify, there are various topics on which the committee – led by Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Democratic ranking member Mark Warner – might want to get more answers. This is especially important in light of Michael Cohen’s testimony in which he suggested that Don Jr. was more aware of the plans for building a Trump Tower in Moscow than he had previously admitted. If Donald Trump Jr. deliberately downplayed his knowledge about and involvement in the Moscow project while testifying under oath, he may be open to charges of perjury.
Then there is also the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer who was offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. Even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller ruled that there was no actionable evidence that this meeting constituted an act of conspiracy in the strict legal sense and that the participants may not have been aware of any potential law-breaking, there are still a number of open questions around this meeting that deserve further inquiry. While Mueller decided to essentially give Don Jr. a pass for being too stupid to commit a crime, congressional lawmakers may not be inclined to do the same.
And last but not least, Michael Cohen also implicated Trump’s eldest son in the context of the hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels, by producing cheques bearing Trump Jr.’s signature – a fact that was still unknown during Don Jr.’s first round of questioning by congressional lawmakers. Today’s subpoena to Donald Trump Jr. clearly illustrates the popular saying that it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. And so far, we haven’t even heard the slim Special Counsel testify before Congress.