Grassley To Release Transcript Of Interview With Donald Trump Jr
28 January, 2018, 00:54 | Author: Kim Reid
A US Senate committee plans to release transcripts of interviews with Trump aides who attended a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
Chuck Grassley said at a committee hearing Thursday that he hopes to work out an agreement with the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, Sen. During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump's eldest son met with the Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya after being promised dirt on his father's opponent Hillary Clinton.
However, Trump Jr. said the conversation with Veselnitskaya was focused exclusively on the issue of USA nationals adopting Russian children.
The 2016 Trump Tower meeting - attended by Trump Jr., Kushner and a group of Russians - has been a focus of the investigations into Russian election interference.
On Thursday, Grassley said he hoped that Feinstein, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, could broker a deal for Grassley to be able to view the transcript of that committee's interview with Kushner, as she did with Manafort.
Trump Jr. has denied allegations of collusion. The committee's interviews, which were conducted behind closed doors, are complete, he added.
Bloomberg News reported that Kushner's lawyers did not decline an interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, but asked when lawmakers can disclose the contents of closed-door interviews and asked if Grassley had seen Kushner's Senate Intelligence Committee interview.
The powerful head of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday accused the and the of bad faith in trying to suppress key sensitive details of the Russian election meddling scandal in 2016 and the Obama administration's handling of the investigation.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, created a stir by releasing the transcript of the interview with Simpson, whose firm commissioned a dossier of unverified allegations concerning Trump and Russian Federation.
Grassley said Thursday that the panel's "chances of getting a voluntary interview with Mr. Kushner has been shot", and blamed Feinstein for having "spooked" potential witnesses when she unilaterally released the transcript of the panel's interview with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.
In a letter Wednesday to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of NY and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, respectively, wrote, "It seems obvious that the goal of these attacks is to undermine [special counsel Robert Mueller's] investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government". Grassley said they will be redacted before they were released, and he was unsure about the timing.Feinstein responded that she was "delighted" by Grassley's comments."I'm very grateful for your decision to proceed", she said after Grassley's statement at a committee hearing Thursday.
The announcement by Grassley came a day after two other Judiciary Committee Democrats, Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse, called on Grassley to share the transcripts with Mueller, particularly the Trump Jr. interview.
Democrats, in turn, accuse Republicans of conducting a smear campaign meant to protect Trump by discrediting Mueller's investigation.
The memo "may be innocuous, but it also may not be innocuous, and they need to work through that", Cornyn said. But Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday that he believes Nunes and the Justice Department need to work out their differences.
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