SPONSORED:

Trump Jr. reaches deal to testify with Senate Intelligence

Donald Trump Jr.Don John TrumpPresident says Trump Jr. doing 'very well' after COVID-19 diagnosis Trump has not prepared a concession speech: report Trump's company paid at least .5M by federal government: report MORE has agreed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a second round of questions, complying with a subpoena from Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNorth Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid Lara Trump mulling 2022 Senate run in North Carolina: report Cyber agency urges employees not to lose focus in wake of director's firing MORE (R-N.C.), who came under fire from fellow Republicans for demanding the testimony.

Trump Jr. struck the deal Tuesday to interview with the panel next month for between two and four hours. The committee had originally a set a 5 p.m. deadline on Monday for him to respond.

Questions about the Trump Tower project in Moscow and the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya are fair game, according to a source who was briefed on the deal.

Another source said the committee outlined 10 topics it hoped to discuss with Trump Jr., but the scope of the interview was negotiated down to six topics. The two sides also agreed this would be Trump Jr.’s last appearance before the committee.

ADVERTISEMENT

The agreement ends a tense standoff that divided Republican lawmakers for the past week.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE’s staunchest allies, including Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses MORE (R-Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMcSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview Republican senators urge Trump to label West Bank goods as 'Made in Israel' MORE (R-Texas), as well as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRichmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight Drastic cuts proposed to Medicare would hurt health care quality MORE (R-Calif.), argued that calling Trump Jr. before the committee for another round of questioning was unnecessary after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE failed to find evidence of conspiracy between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

The intense pressure raised questions about whether Burr would back down.

Burr’s committee has been negotiating with Trump Jr. since December to appear for a second time to answer questions. The first time, Trump Jr. only answered questions from committee staff.

Trump Jr. initially agreed to testify to the committee in March but then backed out and rescheduled his appearance for April, according to a briefing that Burr gave to Senate GOP colleagues last week.

When Trump Jr. again broke his agreement to appear before the committee last month, the Intelligence Committee warned he would face a subpoena.

The source said Trump Jr.’s lawyers initially declined to let their client appear for a second grilling after the Mueller report failed to find any criminal misconduct. But faced with extended civil litigation or a possible Senate vote on contempt, Trump Jr. on Tuesday agreed to appear for a second time.

Trump Jr. had been holding out as he sought restrictions on the amount of time he would spend before the committee and the scope of the questions he’d have to answer.

Trump Jr.’s legal team drafted a letter, which was viewed by The Hill, explaining that he would not plead the Fifth but that he would defy the subpoena and risk being held in contempt of Congress.

In the letter, which was never sent, the lawyers argued that Trump Jr. had already testified for 25 hours, which they said was 14 hours longer than former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden to name longtime aide Blinken as secretary of State: report Understanding mixed results in Pennsylvania key to future elections What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? MORE testified about the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

His lawyers questioned the committee’s motives for calling Trump Jr. back for testimony, arguing that there was no reason for him to respond to claims made by Trump’s former attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenBiden faces politically thorny decision on Trump prosecutions New York expands Trump tax fraud investigations to include write-offs: report Juan Williams: Defeated Trump is in legal peril MORE, who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress and is serving a prison sentence.

At 4:15 p.m. on Monday, 45 minutes before the deadline, the committee staff called Trump Jr.’s legal team to extend the deadline by 24 hours in hopes of reaching a deal. The two sides came to an agreement late in the afternoon on Tuesday, just before the deadline expired.

President Trump on Tuesday called the treatment of his eldest son “very unfair.”

“It’s really a tough situation because my son spent, I guess, over 20 hours testifying about something that [special counsel Robert] Mueller said was 100 percent OK,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “And now they want him to testify again. I don’t know why. I have no idea why. But it seems very unfair to me."

The fight over Trump Jr.’s appearance had become a distraction in the Senate, where Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMedia and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Hackers love a bad transition The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump campaign files for Wis. recount l Secretaries of state fume at Trump allegations l Biden angered over transition delay MORE (R-S.C.) on Sunday took the highly unusual step of urging the president’s son to ignore his colleague’s subpoena.

In doing so, Graham broke one of the Senate’s unwritten rules, as it is considered bad form to even speak for a colleague. Urging a potential witness to ignore a colleague’s subpoena is on a whole other level.

Burr appeared annoyed Tuesday when asked about Graham’s advice.

“I’m not addressing any questions on witnesses and [if] that’s what they’re commenting on. You need to talk to Lindsey,” Burr said. “Go talk to them and ask them what they meant.”

“I’m not going to address anything that deals with engagement of witnesses. Period. End of end of sentence,” he said, growing red in the face. “If you guys have got some real questions, shoot ‘em. If not, thank you, good try. I’m not going to answer them.”

Graham, a Trump ally who is up for reelection next year, made a splash over the weekend when he told Fox Business, “If I were Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer, I would tell him, ‘You don’t need to go back into this environment anymore. You’ve been there for hours and hours and hours and nothing being alleged here changes the outcome of the Mueller investigation.’ ”

The statement sparked an angry backlash from Democrats and puzzled responses from GOP colleagues.

By Tuesday morning more than 65,000 people were using #LindseyGrahamResign on Twitter after a Democratic super PAC urged supporters to retweet it.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said that Graham’s statement conflicted with statements he made while serving in the House arguing that former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration Biden's great challenge: Build an economy for long-term prosperity and security Biden faces politically thorny decision on Trump prosecutions MORE could be impeached for failing to cooperate with congressional subpoenas.  

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLeadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns IRS races to get remaining stimulus checks to low-income households Hillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software MORE (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, took a little jab at Graham by arguing that potential witnesses are more likely to comply with his committee’s subpoenas because it’s viewed as less partisan than the Judiciary panel.

“I know there’s been a long history of ignoring some of the Judiciary Committee subpoenas and actions. So far our committee’s not had that approach,” he said.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyLoeffler to continue to self-isolate after conflicting COVID-19 test results Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection More GOP governors embrace mask mandates, but holdouts remain MORE (R-Iowa), the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Graham’s statement “may be unusual” but noted that Graham “is a lawyer and I’m not.”

Graham’s comment was all the more surprising as it came after Burr explained to colleagues at a meeting Thursday the lengths his committee went to in an effort to get the president’s eldest son to make himself available for a second round of questioning.

On Tuesday, Graham reiterated his argument that Trump Jr. had no obligation to submit himself for new questioning.

“Mueller was the final word, I thought, on Russian activity with the Trump campaign, so you’re going to run into a problem as Congress of getting people to cooperate after they’ve been [before committees] multiple times,” he said. “I’m just making the observation that I’m worried now about where all this is headed.”

Graham’s split with Burr reflects broader division among Republican lawmakers over how hard to press for answers on Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election in the wake of Mueller’s report.  

Paul on Sunday called the subpoena “a real travesty of justice.”

“I think it’s very unfair to the president and the president’s family on this,” he said on John Catsimatidis’s radio show.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTop aide: Biden expected to visit Georgia in push to boost Ossoff, Warnock Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' MORE (R-Ky.), Paul’s home-state colleague, defended Burr on Tuesday.

Asked if he agreed with Trump’s charge that Burr was treating Trump Jr. unfairly, McConnell, who is close to Burr, declined to criticize his colleague.

“I asked him to undertake this investigation into Russian collusion a couple of years ago. He's indicated publicly that he believes they will find no collusion and we are hoping that we will get a report sometime soon,” the GOP leader told reporters after a lunch meeting with fellow Republican senators.

Jordan Fabian and Jordain Carney contributed.