Trump se­nior de­fends Ju­nior

Says son’s Rus­sia meet­ing ‘stan­dard cam­paign prac­tice’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD - BY MARY CLARE JALONICK AND ERIC TUCKER

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump con­tin­ued Thurs­day to de­fend his son’s meet­ing with a Rus­sian lawyer, char­ac­ter­iz­ing it as stan­dard cam­paign prac­tice and main­tain­ing that “noth­ing hap­pened” as a re­sult of the June sit-down.

The re­marks in Paris, made in a joint news con­fer­ence with French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron, came even though Trump’s own FBI pick said one day ear­lier that au­thor­i­ties should be ad­vised of cam­paign meet­ing re­quests with for­eign in­di­vid­u­als and even after Don­ald Trump Jr. said he would re­think his own con­duct in tak­ing it in the first place.

“Most peo­ple would have taken that meet­ing,” Trump said. “It’s called op­po­si­tion re­search, or re­search into your op­po­nent.”

Trump Jr. re­leased emails this week from 2016 in which he ap­peared ea­ger to ac­cept in­for­ma­tion from the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment that could have dam­aged Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign. The emails were sent ahead of a Trump Tower meet­ing with a Rus­sian lawyer that Trump’s former cam­paign man­ager, Paul Manafort, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kush­ner, also at­tended.

The Repub­li­can chair­man of the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee said Thurs­day that he would call on Trump Jr. to tes­tify amid in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sian med­dling in last year’s elec­tion and would sub­poena him if nec­es­sary.

Con­gres­sional com­mit­tees some­times move to hold those who refuse to an­swer sub­poe­nas in con­tempt.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have blamed the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment for med­dling through hack­ing in last year’s elec­tion to ben­e­fit Trump and harm Hil­lary Clin­ton, his Demo­cratic op­po­nent. Con­gres­sional com­mit­tees are in­ves­ti­gat­ing, as is Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller.

Sen. Chuck Grass­ley, R-Iowa, said he wants Trump Jr. to tes­tify “pretty soon,” and it could be as early as next week. He said he was will­ing to sub­poena him if he re­fused to tes­tify. He wouldn’t say what he wants to hear from Don­ald Trump Jr., but said mem­bers aren’t re­stricted “from ask­ing any­thing they want to ask.” The top Demo­crat on the com­mit­tee, Cal­i­for­nia Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, had also called on Don­ald Trump Jr. to tes­tify and had dis­cussed pos­si­ble sub­poe­nas with Grass­ley.

A lawyer for Don­ald Trump Jr. did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a mes­sage seek­ing com­ment on whether his client would agree to ap­pear be­fore the com­mit­tee. A spokesman for the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee said the let­ter hasn’t been sent.

The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee is one of sev­eral con­gres­sional com­mit­tees in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sian med­dling in the U.S. elec­tion. Vir­ginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Demo­crat on the Se­nate in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, has said he would also like to hear from Trump Jr. But the com­mit­tee’s chair­man, Repub­li­can Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, hasn’t said whether the se­cre­tive com­mit­tee will call him in.

In re­sponse to calls for him to tes­tify be­fore the in­tel­li­gence panel, Trump Jr. tweeted Mon­day that he was “happy to work with the com­mit­tee to pass on what I know.”

AP PHOTO

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pauses dur­ing a joint news con­fer­ence with French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron at the El­y­see Palace in Paris Thurs­day.

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