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Trump Jr. meets House Intelligence panel in Russia probe

By Billy House Bloomberg News 

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, was interviewed privately Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee following disclosures that Democrats say must be explored in the probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia before the 2016 election.

The voluntary appearance is Trump Jr.’s first face-to-face meeting with Congress since Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation leveled charges against four associates of President Trump, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

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The House Intelligence panel’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, told reporters Tuesday the committee got a “large document dump” from Trump Jr. ahead of his appearance, but he didn’t offer details.

Trump Jr. met with the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, when he discussed details of a controversial meeting he attended at Trump Tower in Manhattan on June 9, 2016, during the presidential campaign, along with other campaign officials and a Russian lawyer. 

Democrats also are focusing on Trump Jr.’s private message exchanges with WikiLeaks during the campaign, at a time the website was publishing hacked Democratic emails. And Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, has been seeking details of a reported meeting in Kentucky in 2016 between Trump Jr. and a Russian official close to President Vladimir Putin.

“Certainly the emails, and texts and direct messages with Wikileaks will be a hot topic this morning,” House Intelligence Committee member Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, said on CNN. “As will the company, the Trump Organization, and the inordinate number of Russians who have either purchased interests or condominiums, and the extent to which those individuals have criminal backgrounds.”

Senate Intelligence chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina said Tuesday he expected to have Trump Jr. talk with his committee’s investigators but no date is set. Separately, Senate Democrat Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday wrote to the chamber’s Judiciary chairman, Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, asking that Trump Jr. be subpoenaed to appear again before that panel.

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Feinstein of California wrote a letter Tuesday requesting that White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn produce documents and agree to an interview. One of the topics, she said, is reports of a private meeting Trump Jr. had in Kentucky with Alexander Torshin, a Russian official close to Putin.