Bear in mind that when Hillary Clinton was subpoenaed she made no attempts at a deal. And she was examined for eleven hours, about a lot of specious nothingness. Here, the central issue involves foreign interference with the election process of our country — and Donald Trump Jr. and his associates feel that they have to make a deal.
NEWS – A deal was struck between the senate committee subpoeaning @DonaldJTrumpJr for limited appearance, between 2-4 hours, in mid-June, after an intense campaign by his allies against Burr and McConnell. story via @npfandos and me coming soon.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) May 14, 2019
Now Lindsey Graham, who swear to God, reminds me of somebody in a science fiction movie after the space aliens have done a mind conversion process, told reporters Monday, “You just show up and plead the Fifth and it’s over with. You’d have to be an idiot as a lawyer to put your client back into this circus, a complete idiot.” However, if Junior does that, would he be looking at being cited for contempt of Congress? What would that look like? Politico:
Contempt is one way forward. But the Senate also has a special option “as an alternative to both the inherent contempt power of each House and the criminal contempt statutes,” according to the Congressional Research Service. The Intelligence Committee and then the full Senate can take civil action to enforce a subpoena in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia or to simply ask for a declaration of the validity of the subpoena, according to CRS.
Still, Republicans aren’t eager to test the waters when it comes to Trump Jr.; a floor vote would probably be the worst case scenario for Republicans eager to avoid confrontation with the president during a tough election cycle. There’s essentially nothing more toxic than voting on enforcing a subpoena issued to the president’s son.
“Hopefully, the Senate doesn’t have to vote on a subpoena, because that would be a difficult vote for a lot of Republicans between letting a chairman run their committee the way they want to, and in this particular instance, it’s usually a bipartisan decision that a person makes,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Monday. “I don’t want that to happen, but I don’t want to discuss why it might happen. And hopefully, it won’t happen.”
The New York Times points out that this maneuver by Junior was “straight out of his father’s playbook: set the terms of the debate at the most extreme end of the discussion by saying he would not appear, prompt a controversy, then cut a deal on his own terms.”
Senator Burr didn’t want to be put in the position of initiating contempt proceedings, nor did he want for Trump Jr. to defy him. Neither position had particularly terrific optics, not in the run up to a presidential election. So, he chose a compromise, a limited number of topics and a limited amount of time. It puts me in mind of the prepping of Sarah Palin for the vice presidential debate, by a campaign staff desperate to do an end run around her total lack of knowledge not only of the issues, but of basic U.S. history. Palin finally was given a list of topics that would probably be asked, and answers to memorize and she got through it. Here, Trump Jr. and his associates are clearly intimidated by how badly Junior could screw up, in an open ended scenario like Hillary Clinton was in when she testified before Congress, so they’re trying to do the same damage control ploy as was done with Palin, by staging the event as much as possible.
Just another example of the political double standard in this country. A stunt like this would be death to a Democrat but It’s Okay If You’re A Republican. And if you’re a Trump — anything goes.