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

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are pressing Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October MORE (R-Iowa) to schedule public hearings with Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerSaudis say journalist killed in ‘fight’ at consulate; 18 detained White House responds to Joaquin Castro's Kushner allegations: 'an outrageous slanderous lie' Attacks on public figures are growing MORE and Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpElection Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Election Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B Eric Trump: Trump Org has 'zero investments' in Russia or Saudi Arabia 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 LeahyCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Senate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight GOP senators: Mnuchin should not go to Saudi Arabia MORE (Ill.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Democrats won’t let Kavanaugh debate die Senate poised to confirm Kavanaugh after bitter fight MORE (R.I.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharIs there a difference between good and bad online election targeting? Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas Clusters of polio-like illness in the US not a cause for panic MORE (Minn.), Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDem senators urge Pompeo to reverse visa policy on diplomats' same-sex partners 15 Saudis identified in disappearance of Washington Post columnist The Senate needs to cool it MORE (Del.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoKavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight Chris Cuomo: Presumption of innocence didn't apply to Kavanaugh because it wasn't a court case Lindsey Graham hits Dem senator: 'The Hirono standard is horrific' MORE (Hawaii), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Kamala Harris rallies voters in South Carolina MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa Kamala Harris rallies voters in South Carolina On The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit 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 ClintonRepublicans bail on Coffman to invest in Miami seat Katy Perry praises Taylor Swift for diving into politics Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue 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 GrahamCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation Trump calls Saudi explanation for journalist's death credible, arrests 'good first step' 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 ComeyFormer FBI lawyer speaks with House lawmakers on Rosenstein, 2016 Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure McGahn departs as White House counsel MORE's firing late last year.