Key GOP senator after Trump Jr. intel subpoena says 'at some point this smacks of politics'

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynHouse passes bill to expedite financial disclosures from judges McConnell leaves GOP in dark on debt ceiling Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default MORE (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday that he would raise the subpoena of Donald Trump Jr.Don TrumpCourt orders release of some redacted passages of Mueller report How Trump uses fundraising emails to remain undisputed leader of the GOP Donald Trump Jr. joins Cameo MORE with Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrTexas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term On The Money — IRS chief calls for reinforcements Burr brother-in-law ordered to testify in insider trading probe MORE (R-N.C.), warning the the panel needs to stay out of politics. 
 
Cornyn, speaking to reporters outside of the Judiciary Committee, said that he could "understand [Trump Jr.'s] frustration" and warned that 'at some point … this smacks of politics."
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"At some point this is not about finding facts, this smacks of politics and I think we have an important job to do to try to keep the Intelligence Committee out of politics and just keep ourselves focused on our mission, which is oversight of the Intelligence Community," said Cornyn, who is an advisor to Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight House sets up Senate shutdown showdown Biden says he doesn't believe a government shutdown will happen MORE (R-Ky.).

Pressed if he was saying he thought Burr's actions were "more about politics and not about following up on leads," Cornyn added that he "didn't say that." 

"I think the committee’s been doing important work that’s been done on a bipartisan basis, and it really is about finding out what the facts are and what we need to do to prevent foreign interference in the future. I can understand Mr. Trump’s frustration now that the Mueller report has gone public and finding no evidence of collusion. I can understand his frustration at being requested to come back," Cornyn continued. 

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee had subpoenaed Trump Jr. in connection with the panel’s Russia investigation, the first known congressional subpoena to one of President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE’s children.

Trump Jr. previously testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017. But his comments have fallen under scrutiny after the president’s former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenMichael Cohen to sell prison badge as NFT Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to omicron variant Cohen says Weisselberg not 'key' to Trump case MORE claimed in his February testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Trump Jr. was far more involved in the Moscow Trump Tower project and that he briefed both Trump Jr. and Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpBiden celebrates start of Hanukkah Meadows comes under growing Jan. 6 panel spotlight Tucker Carlson rips Graham over report he told officers to shoot Jan. 6 rioters MORE on the project about 10 times.

The decision to subpoena Trump Jr. has sparked GOP criticism of Burr, who as chairman has been leading the committee's investigation. The panel has been running a years-long investigation into the 2016 election and Russian meddling.

Cornyn said on Thursday that he would talk with Burr about "what we need to do to wrap up our investigation." 

"I wasn’t aware the subpoena was issued, it was really something done by committee staff, so I’m going to talk to the chairman and the other committee members and find out exactly where we are and what else we need to do to wrap up this investigation and report our findings to the public," he said. 

Republicans argue the move is out of line with McConnell's proclamation earlier this week from the Senate floor that the Mueller investigation is "case closed," though the subpoena was issued at least a week before McConnell's speech. 

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP blocks bill to expand gun background checks after Michigan school shooting Overnight Defense & National Security — A new plan to treat Marines 'like human beings' Republicans press Milley over perceived progressive military agenda MORE (R-N.C.), who like Cornyn is up for reelection next year, said in a tweet that "I agree with Leader McConnell: this case is closed."

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP anger with Fauci rises Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' MORE (R-Ky.), who is an ally of Trump's, was the first GOP senator to publicly criticize Burr.

"Apparently the Republican chair of the Senate Intel Committee didn’t get the memo from the Majority Leader that this case was closed," Paul said in a tweet.