President Donald Trump, speaking at an impromptu press conference in the White House, defended his son Donald Trump Jr. amid a Senate subpoena order the latter received earlier this week.
It seems, however, that Trump Sr. is not clear on why exactly his son received the subpoena order in the first place.
“I was very surprised,” the elder Trump said on Thursday, according to reporting from Talking Points Memo. “I saw Richard Burr saying there was no collusion two or three weeks ago. My son’s a very good person, works very hard.”
Trump Sr. added that his son doesn’t want to involve himself in the politics of Washington.
“The last thing he needs is Washington, D.C. I think he’d rather not ever be involved.”
President Trump says he’s ‘very surprised’ by subpoena of Donald Trump Jr:
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 9, 2019
That contradicts what Trump’s son has said in the past, that he’d consider a run for higher office himself someday in the future, according to reporting from People.
Trump Sr. continued his rant by going on several tangents, but appeared to be defending Trump Jr. in particular against charges that he did something improper during a meeting at Trump Tower in New York City during the 2016 campaign. During that meeting, Trump Jr. sat with a Russian lawyer, with ties to the Kremlin, to allegedly obtain dirt on Trump’s presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“[F]rankly 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,” the president said.
However, according to a report from Axios, Trump Jr. is not being summoned by the Senate Intelligence Committee to speak about the Trump Tower meeting in New York. Rather, the committee wants to learn more about his previous comments he made regarding his involvement in a proposal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Trump Jr. previously said he was only “peripherally aware” of the plans regarding that project. However, testimony from Trump’s former “fixer,” lawyer Michael Cohen, earlier this year details how Cohen had briefed Trump Jr. and his sister Ivanka Trump at least 10 times on the progress of the negotiations between Moscow and the Trump Organization.
Those who surround Trump have, in the past, suggested that the discussions about a Trump Tower in Moscow deal ended in January 2016, including Cohen who testified before Congress saying as much. That timeframe would have meant Trump ceased negotiations right before the Iowa caucuses, and therefore before the official start of the campaign season.
However, according to reporting from the Independent, Cohen later admitted to lying about that information, describing how Trump had been in negotiations with the Kremlin as late as June 2016, when he won the Republican Party’s nomination for president that year.