Senators, other lawmakers, and pundits within the Republican Party are splitting on the issue of whether a subpoena order from the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee, compelling the president’s oldest son Donald Trump Jr. to testify once more, was appropriate or not.
Trump Jr. was actually issued the subpoena by the committee weeks ago, but news of it broke earlier this week, per reporting from CNN. Several Republicans chastised Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) for his committee’s decision.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) tweeted out his contempt for Burr’s decision.
Apparently the Republican chair of the Senate Intel Committee didn’t get the memo from the Majority Leader that this case was closed… https://t.co/jvV5PIX266
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 8, 2019
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote on his Twitter account that there wasn’t a need to hear from Trump Jr. “It’s time to move on & focus on issues Americans care about,” Cruz wrote.
The Russia investigation is over. After 2 years of Dem & media hysteria, after millions of dollars, after 2800 subpoenas, the Mueller Report found NO collusion. There’s no need for another subpoena for @DonaldJTrumpJr It’s time to move on & focus on issues Americans care about.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 9, 2019
But neither Paul nor Cruz sits on the Intelligence Committee, and some of its Republican members stood up for their committee chairman after criticisms were mounted against him.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wouldn’t speak about the subpoena itself, but defended the character of Burr in leading the Intelligence Committee. “I support his leadership and think that he has done a good job,” she said, the Washington Post reported.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), another member of the committee, also defended Burr’s leadership, and questioned whether some of his colleagues understood that their work was different from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that concluded earlier this year.
“Mueller is a criminal justice investigation. Ours is an intelligence investigation about the Russia threat and about the way our agencies performed,” Rubio explained.
Others, like Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), noted that the committee has called back other witnesses to appear before it for another round of questioning. “I think his brother-in-law [Jared Kushner] came in in a similar situation to be sure that every question was clearly understood and clearly answered, and I think he [Trump Jr.] should too,” Blunt said, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) also defended Burr’s leadership. “We have confidence in our chairman. I think the caucus will back the chairman,” he said.
GOP Senators sticking up for Richard Burr:
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) May 10, 2019
Burr did indeed try to defend the subpoena order during a closed-door lunch with Republicans on Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his colleagues during that event that it was important to hear what Burr and other committee members’ rationales were to issue the subpoena.
But others in the executive branch, including President Donald Trump himself, were not impressed with the committee’s decision. Trump defended his son earlier this week, taking a swipe at Burr for the order to appear before the committee again.
“I was very surprised. I saw Richard Burr saying there was no collusion two or three weeks ago,” Trump said, per previous reporting from HillReporter.com. “My son’s a very good person, works very hard.”