Judiciary Dems want public hearings with Kushner, Trump Jr.
© Greg Nash

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are pressing Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyDem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries MORE (R-Iowa) to schedule public hearings with Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback Trump expected to pitch immigration deal to end funding stalemate The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World MORE and Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpConservatives pound BuzzFeed, media over Cohen report BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president Special counsel issues rare statement disputing explosive Cohen report MORE as part of their probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Democrats sent a letter, spearheaded by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), to Grassley requesting the hearings and asking that he issue subpoenas if they won't volunteer to testify publicly and under oath. 

“This is an essential step toward getting us the answers that we need to fulfill our important oversight responsibilities," the senators wrote.

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In addition to Blumenthal, the letter included Democratic Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president GOP insiders knock their depictions in new Dick Cheney biopic ‘Vice’ Barr: It would be a crime for president to pardon someone in exchange for their silence MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinBlagojevich's wife 'speechless' that officer's sentence less than half of husband's Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback Democrats signal they'll reject Trump shutdown proposal MORE (Ill.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report Speculation swirls over candidates to succeed Rosenstein Overnight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans MORE (R.I.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination CNN analyst Phil Mudd: Barr will ‘crush’ Trump administration 5 takeaways from Barr’s testimony MORE (Minn.), Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO Sunday shows preview: Washington heads into multi-day shutdown MORE (Del.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHawaii state senator to announce bid for Gabbard's House seat in 2020: report AG pick Barr emphasizes independence from Trump Hirono says she can't trust Trump on shutdown talks: 'His word is not good' MORE (Hawaii), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerJimmy Carter tells Booker: 'I hope you run for president' Identity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend MORE (Calif.). 

Senators have honed in on Kushner and Trump Jr. over a June 2016 meeting they had at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who had offered dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto Conservatives pound BuzzFeed, media over Cohen report MORE.

Trump Jr. has said the meeting ended up being about Russian adoption policy and was a waste of time.

Democrats said Grassley has already concluded private interviews of individuals in the meeting, bolstering the need to pivot to public hearings. 

Trump Jr. previously met with committee staffers.

"Committee members have long been led to believe that they would have the chance to question witnesses directly — to follow up on the many questions raised by the staff interviews and to ensure that witnesses testify publicly and under oath," the senators wrote. 

The letter comes as the Judiciary Committee's Russia probe has become increasingly fractured. 

Grassley and GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamExperts warn of persistent ISIS threat after suicide bombing Graham: Trump should meet Pakistan's leader to reset relations State of American politics is all power games and partisanship MORE (S.C.) were heavily criticized by Democrats for asking the Justice Department to investigate whether Christopher Steele, who compiled a controversial research dossier on Trump, lied to the FBI.

Democrats on the panel launched their own probe focused on potential collusion and former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyDems revive impeachment talk after latest Cohen bombshell Dem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Day 27 of the shutdown | Cohen reportedly paid company to rig online polls, boost his own image | Atlantic publishes ‘Impeach Donald Trump’ cover story MORE's firing late last year.