WASHINGTON – Legislators exploring possible collusion between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign will question the president's son about his direct contacts with officials linked to the Kremlin on Wednesday, in the first of two planned interviews with intelligence committees congressional.
The appearance of Donald Trump Jr. before members of the House Intelligence Committee comes after a meeting in September with the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he said he agreed to meet in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower hoping to obtain information on "Fitness, character or qualifications" from Hillary Clinton, although she denied ever having conspired with the Russian government in the campaign.
NBC News reported on Tuesday that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Trump Jr. asked for evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation, information that he said he did not have. Trump seemed to lose interest in the conversation at the time, he told the panel in a 51-page statement in which he also denied working for the Russian government.
Related: Donald Trump Jr. asked a Russian lawyer about the Clinton Foundation
Trump Jr. will probably also face questions about a meeting in May 2016 with another Russian with ties of the Kremlin, Alexander Torshin, at a private dinner during a convention of the National Rifle Association in Kentucky. Trump Jr.'s lawyer has confirmed that the two spoke, but characterized the meeting as a short brief talk.
Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, the top Republican in the investigation of the House Intelligence Committee in Russia, told NBC on Tuesday he expected lawmakers to ask "all the right questions" about the meetings of Trump Tower and Torshin.
It is also expected that the Senate Intelligence Committee will interview Trump Jr. soon, although a date has not yet been identified.
Conaway said he did not see the panel change its approach a week after former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn agreed to cooperate with special lawyer Robert Mueller's investigation into possible Russian collusion, saying the scope of his investigation did not include the conduct of Trump officials during the transition period or once he arrives at the White House.
"Flynn's number publishes most of the things we're seeing," Conaway said. "We're not doing anything with obstruction, we're not doing anything with all that … That depends on Mueller."
However, the committee has been given other potential potentials to seek the nexus between Trump and the Russian entities. During a committee interview with the firm behind a 35-page dossier about then-candidate Trump last month, a Fusion GPS officer not only kept his claims, but provided additional clues about the flow of Russian money to real estate projects. of Trump, particularly abroad, according to two sources present for the interview.
Trump Jr. continues to oversee the family's real estate business.
In response to questions from Senate investigators, Veselnitskaya also acknowledged that he worked with Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal journalist and co-founder of Fusion GPS, in a separate investigation of hedge fund investor Bill Browder, the accountant Sergei Magnitsky, whose death prompted Congress to pass a law that restricts the access of Russians to the American banking system.
Months after that closed-door meeting with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, called on Tuesday for President Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, to quote Trump Jr. for public testimony, saying who had failed to comply with requests for subsequent documents from the panel. Blumenthal, in a letter to Grassley, points out new revelations from the committee's previous interview, including the exchange of messages with WikiLeaks that had not been provided to the committee, but that were within the scope of their requests.