“The reality was there’s nothing to change,” Trump Jr. told reporters after emerging from the committee’s secure spaces. “I don’t think I changed anything of what I said because there was nothing to change. I’m glad this is finally over and we’re able to put final clarity on that. And I think the committee understands that.”
Trump Jr. added that if he needed to clarify anything it was due to President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, whom he noted was “serving time right now for lying to these very investigative bodies.”
Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and the panel’s top Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia declined to comment Wednesday as they left the hearing.
“I’m not going to comment on anything but let him take him at his word,” Burr said when asked about Trump Jr.’s public comments.
The President’s eldest son on Wednesday appeared for a second time before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which issued a subpoena for Trump Jr.’s testimony after he resisted coming voluntarily.
The subpoena to Trump Jr. — the first issued to a member of the President’s family — prompted a sharp backlash from GOP allies of Trump Jr. against Burr, a Republican, including from the President.
Burr has declined repeatedly to comment on his decision to subpoena Trump Jr. since it was revealed last month, but the committee did not back down in response to the criticism that his committee needed to speak to Trump Jr. again. Ultimately, the panel struck a deal with Trump Jr. for him to testify for two-to-four hours on roughly a half-dozen topics.
The committee likely asked him additional questions about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting and the Trump Organization’s Trump Tower Moscow project.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is still finishing its two-year investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling. Burr said the panel has just a handful of witnesses left before wrapping up the probe.
Trump Jr. testified before the Senate Intelligence, House Intelligence and Senate Judiciary Committees in 2017, and the Senate Judiciary panel released a transcript of its interview. Since the release of the Mueller report, questions have arisen about discrepancies between Trump Jr.’s testimony and what other witnesses told both Congress and the special counsel’s team.
While Trump Jr. said he only told former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner about the Trump Tower meeting where a Russian lawyer was offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, former Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates told Mueller Trump Jr. spoke about possible negative information on the Clinton Foundation at a campaign meeting.
And Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee he was only “peripherally aware” of the Trump Tower Moscow project, but Cohen told the special counsel he discussed the project on multiple occasions with the President’s eldest son.
Trump Jr. addressed Cohen’s testimony when he spoke to reporters, but he did not mention Gates’ statements that were included in the Mueller report.
The first time Trump Jr. testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, he was questioned by committee staff with no senators present, which was the committee’s protocol for its first round of Russia investigation interviews. For the second round of committee interviews, senators can attend the interview but are not asking questions directly, according to Senate aides.
This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.