The Senate Judiciary Committee will request Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony on the heels of the bombshell discovery that he met with a Russian lawyer in 2016 in order to receive damaging information about his father’s campaign opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the committee, told CNN on Thursday he and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., were preparing a letter to Trump Jr. inviting him to testify. Feinstein separately told CNN she would like Trump Jr. to appear before the committee as soon as next week.
Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.’s attorney, did not immediately return a request for comment.
After a series of escalating New York Times stories regarding Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the president’s son posted screenshots of an email chain between him and Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who helped arrange the meeting.
In his initial email to Trump Jr., Goldstone floats the existence of “very high level and sensitive information” about Clinton and the Democratic National Committee that he characterized as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Trump Jr. eagerly responded, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
Trump Jr.’s defense has so far been that no valuable information resulted from the meeting, which was also attended by then-campaign chief Paul Manafort and current senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.
President Trump defended his oldest son from scrutiny later in the day Thursday. At a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump called his son “a wonderful young man” and said taking such a meeting was not unusual.
“I do think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research or even research into your opponent,” Trump said. “I’ve had many people, I’ve only been in politics for two years, I’ve had many people call up, ‘Oh, gee, we have information on this factor or this person or, frankly, Hillary,’ that’s very standard in politics. Politics is not the nicest business in the world, but it’s very standard.”