Donald Trump Jr meets with US senators for fresh grilling

Donald Trump Jr
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Donald Trump Jr returned to Congress Wednesday to face questions likely to focus on his contacts with Russians, as the president’s eldest son insisted he has “nothing to correct” from his 2017 testimony.

The 41-year-old went behind closed doors to testify for up to four hours before members of the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of the Republican-led panel’s two-year investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Trump Jr, who helms the Trump Organization collection of businesses that his real estate billionaire father ran for decades, faced a barrage of reporters’ questions as he strode into the committee room, including whether he was going to alter his testimony from two years ago.

“No,” he said quickly, before adding: “Nothing to correct.”

Trump Jr will undoubtedly face scrutiny for his role in arranging a Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 that included White House advisor and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and others.

“If it’s what you say, I love it,” Trump Jr had written in response to a 2016 email offering the information in a meeting, according to a transcript released last year by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was conducting a parallel investigation.

Some Democrats suspect he may have lied about what he and his father knew about the now-infamous meeting, as well as other connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The Trump team had initially tried to cover up the meeting when reports of it emerged in mid-2017, providing conflicting stories about the purpose of the gathering and what happened.

– Return to Capitol Hill –

Trump Jr had also appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and that panel’s Republican chairman, Senator Richard Burr, faced criticism from within his party for calling Trump Jr to appear a second time, due to apparent discrepancies between his original 2017 testimony and that of other witnesses.

According to US media he is expected to face questions about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, a project that continued well into the 2016 presidential campaign despite Trump’s team saying the deal had fallen through.

Trump Jr is a fierce defender of his father, and like the president is an adept Twitter user. Junior had tweeted out the full email chain of his communications setting up the Manhattan Trump Tower meeting, as a way to preempt an upcoming report about it.

Trump Jr had already spent hours being grilled by US lawmakers on issues that were also the focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation, which wrapped up earlier this year.

So in May the president said he was “very surprised” to learn that the intelligence panel, known for its bipartisanship, had subpoenaed his son to testify again.

Trump has said Mueller’s voluminous report vindicated him of allegations of collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice, and that Democrats were pursuing a “witch hunt” against him and his administration.

He has also said the report “totally exonerated” his son.

Mueller said he could not file charges against Trump, but he nonetheless painted a damaging picture of the president’s conduct, setting forth 10 instances in which Trump sought to thwart the investigation.

The investigation led to the indictments of at least 34 American and Russian individuals or entities.

Among them are six former aides to Trump, including Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud, campaign finance violations and perjury.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was also at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, was indicted for tax fraud and is not in prison.