Trump Jr. should testify under oath on Russia, Feinstein says
WASHINGTON — President Trump's eldest son, Donald Jr., should testify under oath to a Senate panel investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election, said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Trump Jr. spoke privately for five hours to committee staff Sept. 7, discussing his June 2016 meeting in New York with several Russians. At the time, Trump Jr. said in a prepared statement that he set up the meeting because he was interested in potentially damaging information about his father's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
"It's Senator Grassley's intent and it's certainly my intent to have him before the committee in the open, and be able to ask some questions under oath," Feinstein said on CNN's "State of the Union," referring to Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa. She said that's likely to occur "this fall."
Feinstein said the committee also is likely to subpoena Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, after he declined to voluntarily appear before Congress. Grassley said last week that Manafort's lawyers aren't returning the committee's phone calls.
Before Manafort testifies, though, the committee needs to "do some investigative work," Feinstein said. Two new investigators have been hired to work with the Democratic side of the committee, she said.
"This could take a year, a year and a half if not more," Feinstein said. "People need to be patient."
Determining what role Russia had in trying to influence the outcome of the presidential election is the subject of investigations by both houses of Congress and by special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director.
In addition to trying to learn more about that June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, focus has turned to divisive ads placed on widely-used social media platforms, likely by Russians.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said panel members are seeking "a lot more information" from Facebook about $100,000 worth of ads purchased there.
"When you look at the content of those ads, it really underscores what the intelligence community said earlier," Schiff said on ABC's "This Week." "The Russians were really aiming to divide us, to sew discord, to effectively set one American against another on some of the most divisive issues that we have."
Schiff said he was "distressed" it took so long for investigators to be told of the ads, and that there are "a lot of unanswered questions."
"We need to know the full extent of their use of social media to influence us, from Facebook, from Twitter, from Google, from any social media or search engine," Schiff said. "They need to be fully forthcoming, and I'm confident they will. I think, frankly they need to come and testify before Congress because there's a lot we need to know about this."
Feinstein said there's no indication that the digital data operation effort during the election campaign, partially spearheaded by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, had any role in the Facebook ads.