Donald Trump Jr will testify publicly before a congressional committee probing Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign and possible collusion by his father’s campaign, a Democratic senator said today. “Well, it will be this fall. I know that for sure,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an interview with CNN.
It would be the first public testimony on the Russia affair by a member of President Donald Trump’s inner circle, and by no less a figure than his eldest son, the co-director of the family business. “Don Jr” already has testified behind closed doors, answering questions by Senate Judiciary Committee investigators for five hours on September 7.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, also testified behind closed doors before several congressional committees in July. But the lawmakers want the various Trump insiders to publicly explain, under oath, their contacts with Russians before and after the November election. All have vehemently denied any collusion with Moscow, defending the contacts as of no significance or unrelated to the campaign. In Trump’s son’s case, investigators are interested in one particular meeting he had in June 2016 at New York’s Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.
She had had been presented to Donald Jr as a Russian government lawyer who could provide compromising information about Hillary Clinton. He says the meeting never led to anything. Regardless, investigators will want to know if his father was aware of what might amount to an attempt at collusion. Donald Jr’s testimony has not yet been scheduled by the Judiciary Committee, which is controlled by Republicans. If he refuses an invitation to testify, Congress can compel his testimony through its subpoena powers.