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Grassley rejects calls to bring Trump Jr. back to testify again

Posted at 7:58 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-30 21:58:13-04

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley on Monday rejected Democratic calls for the committee to bring Donald Trump Jr. back to testify again about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting following Michael Cohen’s claims that Trump Jr. told his father about the meeting in advance.

“If he misled the committee, he’s lying to Congress. That’s a crime,” the Iowa Republican told CNN. “And that’d be up to the prosecutors, not me.”

Asked whether he would subpoena Trump Jr. for his phone records – which include calls Trump Jr. placed to a blocked number while setting up the Trump Tower meeting – Grassley said he didn’t think there was much more the committee needed to hear from Trump’s son.

“I think if he didn’t tell us the truth, that that’s an issue for the Justice Department, not us,” Grassley said. “And I’m not suggesting anything, I’m just saying there wouldn’t be much more for us to hear from him.”

Last week, CNN reported that Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, claims Trump was told ahead of time about the meeting in which Trump Jr. was expecting “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. The claims, if proven true, would contradict the denials from the President and Trump Jr., including the testimony that Trump Jr. gave to the committee last year.

That has sparked a fresh round of calls from Democrats for Grassley to bring Trump Jr. back to the committee for further questioning, as well as to subpoena Trump Jr.’s telephone records to learn who holds the blocked number that Trump Jr. called.

“If recent reports are true that President Trump knew in advance about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, it would suggest that Donald Trump Jr. may have misled Judiciary Committee staff about the meeting when he was interviewed last fall,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, said in a statement. “It further demonstrates the need to bring him before the committee to answer our questions.”

In May, the Senate Judiciary Committee released the transcripts of the interviews the panel conducted with Trump Jr. and most of the other participants in the June 2016 meeting. In his testimony Trump Jr. clearly states he did not tell his father about the meeting beforehand.

RELATED: Trump Tower meeting transcripts released

“Did you inform your father about the meeting or the underlying offer prior to the meeting?” the committee asked.

“No, I did not,” Trump Jr. responded.

While Cohen’s new claims are raising into question Trump Jr.’s denial, Cohen also does not have any corroborating evidence. And in his own testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last year, Cohen did not say that Trump had advanced knowledge of the meeting, CNN has reported.

Asked Monday if Grassley also wanted to hear from Cohen, the Judiciary chairman demurred.

“He’s gonna be indicted,” Grassley said.