Blumenthal to question Donald Jr. in Senate committee
Published 5:04 pm, Thursday, July 13, 2017
WASHINGTON — It’s the most anticipated political show of the year — and a Connecticut senator might find himself front and center.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — which Sen. Richard Blumenthal is on — said Thursday he is writing a letter to Donald Trump Jr. asking him to testify in front of the committee.
The announcement follows revelations earlier this week that the president's oldest son met with a Russian lawyer last year to obtain allegedly damaging information about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. In a series of emails, Trump Jr. was told the lawyer had ``high-level and sensitive’’ information that was ``part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.’’
``We need to uncover all of the possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in our elections, which is a crime,’’ Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in an interview.
He said that the testimony is going to be ``very dramatic but very enlightening for the American people’’ and could happen as early as next week but likely the week after.
``I want to know all about the meeting that took place with the Russian foreign-agent lawyer on June 9, all of their recollections of who said what,’’ Blumenthal said, adding that the Judiciary Committee's investigation is bipartisan.
Grassley told CNN on Thursday he believes requiring Trump Jr.'s presence falls under his committee's jurisdiction ``because of our oversight of the Justice Department,’’ adding that Trump Jr.'s emails have ``raised a lot of questions.’’
Grassley also said Wednesday that he will try to bring Connecticut's Paul Manafort, the president's former campaign manager, before the committee to question him regarding the enforcement of the Foreign Agent Registration Act. The law generally requires lobbyists representing foreign powers to register as such.
But, he said, once Manafort comes before the committee he is subject to any line of questioning, including that of his involvement in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, which he attended. Grassley said he would subpoena Manafort if need be.
Blumenthal said he is both ``gratified and pleased’’ that Trump Jr. and Manafort will appear in front of the committee.
``These two witnesses will be a significant and serious opening to our fact-finding mission,’’ he said.
In a Wednesday press release, Blumenthal also called Manafort’s testimony a "long overdue act of oversight.’’
``Mr. Manafort must answer questions about his deeply disturbing _ and possibly criminal — conduct throughout the campaign,’’ he said in the release.