Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley indicated today that closed-door testimony by Donald Trump, Jr. will be released soon as the Judiciary Committee wraps up its investigation into the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
Don Jr. is widely believed to have committed perjury in that hearing, so the transcript could make for damning headlines. If true, that might explain why Grassley sniped at his colleague, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, for supposedly getting in the way of the investigation.
During a hearing this morning, Grassley said that Jared Kushner was “spooked” by Feinstein’s decision to release the transcript of testimony from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Via Bloomberg:
I had hoped to speak with all the witnesses surrounding the Trump Tower meeting before releasing any of those interview transcripts. But [Feinstein] unilaterally released the transcript of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. That has spooked other potential witnesses. As a result, it looks like our chances of getting a voluntary interview with Mr. Kushner have been shot.
Of course, the Fusion GPS testimony was unrelated to the Trump Tower meeting, but it was already a political football.
Republicans attacked the firm even while withholding transcripts of Simpson interviews in House and Senate committees — transcripts that debunk the right wing narrative of a nefarious Democratic Party plot against the Trumps.
“Grassley’s team has also privately blamed Feinstein for costing the committee an interview with Manafort in July, just before FBI agents raided his apartment,” the Washington Post reports. “Feinstein denies the insinuation and has faulted Grassley for failing to subpoena Manafort’s testimony.”
Indeed, Grassley can subpoena Kushner any time he wants, too. As the chairman of the committee, he has those full and awesome powers of Congress, yet seems reluctant to use them in this area for some reason.
Meanwhile, Kushner seems to have been the lone holdout among those who were at the Trump Tower meeting.
The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian notes that Grassley’s committee has already heard voluntary testimony from “music promoter Rob Goldstone, Russian American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, U.S.-based Russian real estate company employee Ike Kaveladze, and Anatoli Samochornov, the translator for Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.”
Nor does the timeline support Grassley’s latest attack on Feinstein. Don Jr. reputedly perjured himself before the committee in September; Feinstein only released the Fusion GPS transcript just over a week ago. In between, Kushner had four long months to appear.
What is his excuse for that? Maybe Chuck Grassley can provide one.
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