May 8, 2019

Scoop: Senate Intel subpoenas Trump Jr. over Russia matters

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. to answer questions about his previous testimony before Senate investigators in relation to the Russia investigation, sources with direct knowledge told Axios.

Why it matters: It's the first congressional subpoena — that we know about — of one of President Trump's children. The subpoena sets up a fight that's unprecedented in the Trump era: A Republican committee chair pit against the Republican president's eldest son.

  • It's also a sign that the Russia investigations in Congress aren't over despite the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe and despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it's time to move on from the Russia probe.
  • A Senate Intelligence Committee spokesperson told Axios: "We do not discuss the details of witness engagements with the Committee. Throughout the investigation, the Committee has reserved the right to recall witnesses for additional testimony as needed, as every witness and witness counsel has been made aware."
  • "Don and Senate Intel agreed from the very beginning that he would appear once to testify before the committee and would remain for as long as it took to answer all of their questions. He did that. We're not sure why we're fighting with Republicans," a source close to Trump Jr. told Axios.

Between the lines: Mueller, whose investigation did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, did not indict Trump Jr., despite speculation that he would.

  • Unlike many congressional investigations in the Trump era, the Senate Intelligence probe — led by Republican chairman Richard Burr and Democratic vice chair Mark Warner — has been largely bipartisan.
  • The fact that they're subpoenaing Trump Jr. is a strong signal that he declined a request to appear before the committee again.

The backstory: Trump Jr. testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 that he was only "peripherally aware" of proposed plans for the Moscow project. His testimony was released. He testified for a total of more than 25 hours with three different committees, per a source familiar with the situation.

  • In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham in January 2019, Trump Jr. downplayed his knowledge of the discussions about a possible Trump Tower in Moscow, saying that the project was a creation of President Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen: "We don't know anything about it. Ultimately, it was Michael Cohen essentially trying to get a deal done."

What we know: Cohen claimed in his testimony before the House Oversight Committee in February that Trump Jr. was more aware of the project than that. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Cohen testified, he briefed Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump about the proposed Trump Tower Moscow project about 10 times.

Worth noting: Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress. He reported to prison on Monday to serve out his three-year prison sentence.

Go deeper ... Timeline: Here's what we know about Trump Tower Moscow

Go deeper

America's food heroes

Photos: Charlie Riedel/AP (L); Brent Stirton/Getty Images

The people who grow, process and keep food stocked on shelves are doing heroic work in these conditions, often for bottom-barrel pay.

Why it matters: Millions of Americans don't have the luxury of working from home, and it's essential that food workers keep working so we can keep eating.

Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday after apologizing for comments he made about Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed after a letter he wrote pleading with the Navy to address the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt was leaked to the press. The resignation was first reported by Politico.

Why it matters: The controversy over Crozier's removal was exacerbated after audio leaked of Modly's address to the crew, in which he said Crozier was either "too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this." After initially backing Modly's decision, President Trump said at a briefing Monday that he would "get involved."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,407,123— Total deaths: 81,103 — Total recoveries: 297,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 386,800 — Total deaths: 12,285 — Total recoveries: 20,191Map.
  3. Trump admin latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill.
  4. Federal government latest: Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week — Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. World update: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  6. Wisconsin primary in photos: Thousands gathered to cast ballots in-person during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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