In this post, I discussed Donald Trump Jr.’s refusal to appear for second time before the Senate Intelligence Committee. I argued that he should testify.
Now, following the issuance of a subpoena, Trump Jr. has agreed to testify. Under a deal reached with the Committee, he will testify for up to four hours and questions will be limited to six broad categories, not ten as the Committee contemplated.
It’s a reasonable deal. Having already questioned Trump Jr., the Committee shouldn’t need more than four more hours. Nor, since this is follow-up questioning, is it likely that questioning needs to cover more than six broad topics.
One of the topics included in the list of six is the June 2016 meeting Trump Jr. held with that Russian lawyer who claimed to be peddling dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. denies that his father knew about the meeting. However, Michael Cohen, who was Trump’s lawyer at the time, says Trump Jr. informed his father about it in advance.
Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, reportedly has said he’s not inclined to pursue a perjury case against Trump Jr. regarding his testimony about the June 2016 meeting. I assume he will ask if Trump Jr. is sticking to his story in light of Cohen’s statements. I assume Trump Jr. will say he is, and that will be the end of it. But Burr is right to want to ask.
If my assumptions are correct, this will remain a case of Trump Jr.’s word against Cohen’s. Cohen is serving time for lying to Congress, among other things.
Although I argued that Trump Jr. should testify again before Burr’s committee, I agree with the decision of the Trump team not to cooperate with the House, which is indulging in nearly two dozen investigations.
What’s the difference? Burr is proceeding in good faith as he tries to wrap up his investigation into the important issue of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race. The House, by contrast, is indulging in a politically motivated campaign to harass the president and his family.
In addition, Burr is willing to work with witnesses like Trump Jr. to develop reasonable parameters for their testimony. The House committee chairmen insist uncompromisingly on unreasonable conditions. Their intent, it seems, is to induce non-compliance in order to find potential witnesses in contempt.
House Democrats are acting without any semblance of good faith. The White House should continue to stiff them.