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

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are pressing Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties Congressional leaders unite to fight for better future for America's children and families MORE (R-Iowa) to schedule public hearings with Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerDemocrat calls for investigation of possible 'inappropriate influence' by Trump in border wall contract Judge temporarily halts construction of a private border wall in Texas Mueller witness linked to Trump charged in scheme to illegally funnel money to Clinton campaign MORE and Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpWhite House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Top Democrats knock Trump on World AIDS Day 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 LeahyICE emerges as stumbling block in government funding talks Republicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members Lawmakers bypass embattled Mulvaney in spending talks MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSupreme Court poised to hear first major gun case in a decade Protecting the future of student data privacy: The time to act is now Overnight Health Care: Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills | CDC confirms 47 vaping-related deaths | Massachusetts passes flavored tobacco, vaping products ban MORE (Ill.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Pelosi warns of 'existential' climate threat, vows bold action Republicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members MORE (R.I.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee Delaney to DNC: Open second debate stage for candidates who qualified for past events There's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down MORE (Minn.), Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days Lawmakers call for investigation into program meant to help student loan borrowers with disabilities Senators defend bipartisan bill on facial recognition as cities crack down MORE (Del.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSupreme Court poised to hear first major gun case in a decade Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony Pentagon No. 2 denies trying to block official's impeachment testimony MORE (Hawaii), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash Yang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations 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 ClintonDemocrats battle for Hollywood's cash The House Judiciary Committee's fundamental choice Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire 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 GrahamGOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties GOP senator blocks Armenian genocide resolution Hannity slams Stern for Clinton interview: 'Not the guy I grew up listening to' 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 Comey'Project Guardian' is the effective gun law change we need Saagar Enjeti: Hillary Clinton still blames her failures on Bernie Sanders The shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley MORE's firing late last year.