May 9, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Trump says he was "very surprised" Don Jr. was subpoenaed by Senate Intel

President Trump told reporters Thursday that he was "very surprised" that his son, Donald Trump Jr., was subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, as first reported by Axios.

"I was very surprised. I saw Richard Burr saying there was no collusion two or three weeks ago. He went outside and said we found no collusion. I was very surprised to see my son — my son is a very good person. ... He's now testified for 20 hours or something, a massive amount of time. The Mueller report came out. That's the bible. The Mueller report came out and they said he did nothing wrong."

Why it matters: This is the first congressional subpoena — that we know about — of one of Trump's children. The president signaled that Trump Jr. may fight the subpoena, which was authorized by Republican Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr.

  • The subpoena has prompted significant backlash from Republicans, who have complained — like Trump — that Don Jr. has spent hours testifying before Congress, and that Democrats won't let go of the Russia investigation even after the release of the Mueller report.
  • It's worth noting that the Senate Intelligence Committee has not yet released its own bipartisan report, which Ranking Member Mark Warner said will be "more extensive" than the Mueller report with respect to Russia's interference efforts in the 2016 election.

Reality check: Mueller did not exonerate Trump Jr. in his report. He chose not to prosecute Trump Jr. for violating a ban on contributions and donations by foreign nationals for 2 reasons:

  • First, Mueller likely could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump Jr. and the others "acted 'willfully,' i.e. with general knowledge of the illegality of their conduct."
  • And second, Mueller said he likely could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the "value of promised information exceeded the threshold for a criminal violation."

Go deeper: Trump Jr. subpoena faces Republican backlash

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