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

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocratic Houston councilwoman announces Senate bid Trump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal MORE (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday that he would raise the subpoena of Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Trump set to host controversial social media summit Trump associate Felix Sater grilled by House Intel MORE with Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders mounts staunch defense of 'Medicare for All' | Biden, Sanders fight over health care heats up | House votes to repeal ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' | Dems want details on fetal tissue research ban Top North Carolina newspapers editorial board to GOP: 'Are you OK with a racist president?' Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns 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."
ADVERTISEMENT

"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 McConnellMcConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime 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 John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis 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 CohenJudge says probe tied to Trump hush-money payments is over Judge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media Feds unlikely to charge Trump Organization execs in campaign finance case: report 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 TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpLiberal think tank: GOP paid parental leave proposals are too narrow Ivanka Trump's women's initiative unveils million in new grants The Hill's Morning Report - House Democrats clash over next steps at border 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 TillisRepublicans scramble to contain Trump fallout McConnell says Trump is not a racist, but calls for better rhetoric GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist 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 PaulFirst responder calls senators blocking 9/11 victim funding 'a--holes' The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Jon Stewart rips into Rand Paul after he blocks 9/11 victim compensation fund: 'An abomination' 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.