Senate lawmakers on both sides of the aisle raised concerns over Donald Trump Jr.’s emails about a Russian lawyer who allegedly promised harmful information about the Clinton campaign, calling for him to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
Trump Jr. released the June email exchange between him and music publicist named Rob Goldstone discussing how the Russian government supported his father.
GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida — who sits on the Senate Intel Committee — said the information will be helpful to the panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, adding they need to hear Trump Jr.’s account of what took place.
“I think that the appropriate next step here is to have him come before the committee because he’s expressed his willingness to get a better context behind all of this, because what we’re focused on is the methods and tactics used my Putin’s Russia to interfere in political processes, any sort of criminal element is being handled by Mueller,” he told reporters.
Rubio said it’s not the Senate Intelligence Committee’s place to determine whether Trump Jr.’s willingness to take the meeting is evidence of collusion., noting that is in the hands of the special prosecutor.
“Well, that is something Mr. Mueller will have to determine, and our job is to issue a report on whether or not how the Russians interfered in our elections and the tactics they used and this very well could be insightful in that regard,” he said. “But we’d like to talk to him and his willingness to talk to us I think is a very positive sign.”
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said the exchange warrants an investigation of its own, telling reporters she is hoping the chair and vice chair of the committee request any other emails or documents they currently don’t possess.
“The emails deserve their own investigation; I believe that the committee should interview Donald Trump Jr. as well as everyone else who was involved in attending the meeting or setting up the meeting,” she told reporters. “Until we have a fuller picture it would be premature for me to reach any judgment.”
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri argued the emails violate campaign finance regulations.
“Certainly, I think we have some pretty clear evidence of campaign finance violations at this point, breaking the law as it relates to assistance from foreign governments,” she told reporters. “So I think the investigations in the Senate are going to continue and I know all of this will be of great interest to Robert Mueller in what is final call on what id anything will be referred for criminal prosecution.”
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