Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, May 9, 2019
On May 8, Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. to testify before the committee. The subject? Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Burr’s move bewildered and outraged some of his fellow Republicans.
“Apparently the Republican chair of the Senate Intel Committee didn’t get the memo from the Majority Leader that this case was closed…” Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted.
Attorneys for Trump Jr., noting his substantial cooperation with Congress and the Mueller report’s clearing him of any allegations of wrongdoing, refused Burr’s request.
What is going on with Sen. Burr? Assessments by Washington media professionals who requested anonymity was blunt. “He’s a deep-stater,” said one. “He’s just a liberal,” said another. Thus Burr’s party affiliation is of little consequence.
A bit of foreshadowing on the developments of May 8 came in a February column for Washington Monthly by Martin Longman.
During a February appearance on NBC’s “TODAY” show, Longman noted that disgraced ex-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said he had informed the Gang of Eight after he took the outrageous step of authorizing a counterintelligence investigation of President Donald Trump in May 2017.
The Gang of Eight is a select group of senior congressional leaders that includes the Senate Majority and Minority leaders, the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, and the chairs and ranking minority members of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
This means that Republican Party leaders Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan — and Burr — “have known that the president was being investigated for his potential threat to national security for nearly two years,” Longman wrote. “It’s unclear what then-House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes may have known since he was forcibly but temporarily recused from oversight of the Russia investigation in May 2017.”
According to McCabe, no member of the Gang of Eight raised any objections at the time: “not on legal grounds, constitutional grounds or based on the facts.”
“One thing this revelation helps explain” is why Republican congressional leaders never gave Trump any cover to fire Robert Mueller, Longman wrote in February. “It’s true that they stubbornly refused calls to formally protect Mueller, but they’ve also made it clear in public and in private that there would be hell to pay if Trump tried to terminate him or his investigation. On the Senate side, they have pursued their own investigation in a way that has been less than rigorous but still more dogged than it had to be. For the most part, the Democrats have not cried foul.”
The Russia investigation persisted, Longman wrote, “because Republican leaders have insisted that it continue. This is a strange kind of Deep State coup.”
Trump Jr. testified before the committee in 2017 and Trump Jr.’s attorneys pointed out that Burr had promised he would only have the president’s eldest son testify once.
Sources close to Trump Jr. told Breitbart News that Burr’s behavior “will not be forgotten and will have deep wide-ranging consequences for all Senate Republicans.”
“It’s outrageous that Senator Burr appears to be taking his marching orders from liberal Democrats intent on trying to take down the President and his family to harass a private citizen who has already spent nine hours testifying in front of the Senate Intel Committee,” the source close to Trump, Jr. told Breitbart News.
“When Don agreed to testify to the Senate Intel Committee in 2017, there was an agreement between Don and the Committee that it would be a ‘one and done testimony’ and in return Don agreed to answer any questions for as long a time as they’d like. Don fulfilled his end of the agreement; clearly Senator Burr is not fulfilling his side of it. It’s bad enough that he has to deal with constant harassment from Democrats in the House, but it’s shocking to see Senate Republicans join them in this harassment campaign. Unfortunately for them, Don Jr. has a long memory and come the 2020 campaign season, when Senate Republicans are begging him to raise money and campaign for them, he will remember where every Senate Republican stood on this.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California tweeted that Trump Jr. “has already spent dozens of hours testifying in front of congressional committees.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had on May 7 reiterated his argument that Congress needs to stop litigating the Russia controversy.
“My view is it’s time to move on. The special counsel spent a couple of years, talked to a whole lot of people, filed his report and it seems to me we’ve got our answer. There was no collusion,” McConnell said.