Taken aback by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s subpoena issued to Donald Trump Jr., President Trump on Thursday defended his son, leaning on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to do so.
“I was very surprised. I saw Richard Burr saying there was no collusion two or three weeks ago,” Trump said at an impromptu press conference at the White House, referring to the committee’s Republican chairman. “My son’s a very good person, works very hard. The last thing he needs is Washington, D.C. I think he’d rather not ever be involved.”
“He’s now testified for 20 hours or something — massive amount of time. The Mueller report came out. That’s the bible. The Mueller report came out and they said he did nothing wrong. The only thing is, it’s oppo research,” Trump continued, arguing that his campaign was simply engaged in a routine search for damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
The President then went off on several tangents related to Trump Jr.’s involvement in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer. Trump worked in references to a favorite Republican target — the dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer — as well as phone calls Don Jr. made to an unknown number while planning the infamous meeting.
After a lengthy rant about the meeting, Trump circled back to defending his son.
“My son is a good person. My son testified for hours and hours. My son was totally exonerated by Mueller, who frankly does not like Donald Trump — me, this Donald Trump,” he said. “And frankly for my son after being exonerated to now get a subpoena to go again and speak again after close to 20 hours of telling everybody that would listen about a nothing meeting, yeah, I’m pretty surprised.”
Yet, Trump may have been attempting to defend his son on the wrong issue. Reports on Wednesday indicated that the Senate Intelligence Committee is interested in comments Trump Jr. made to congressional committees about his knowledge of the Trump Tower Moscow project. It appears that Trump Jr.’s testimony about the project does not align with claims Michael Cohen made as part of his plea deal.
Though Trump seemed unhappy with the subpoena, he did not say whether his son would refuse to testify.
“Well, we’ll see what happens,” Trump said when asked. “I’m just very surprised.”