- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia’s role in last year’s White House race, has cleared President Trump’s eldest son and former campaign chairman to publicly testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee as concerns mount over their meeting last summer with a Kremlin-linked attorney.

The panel’s ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California, said Tuesday that Mr. Mueller told committee members “he didn’t have a problem” with lawmakers seeking public testimony from Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, The Associated Press reported.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, announced he’d seek testimony from the two last week after details emerged about a meeting they attended in June 2016 with a Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, in which the younger Mr. Trump had expected to receive sensitive information concerning his father’s rival at the time, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

Subsequent reports have indicated as many as eight people attended the meeting at Trump Tower, including senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and a Russian-American lobbyist, among others.

Members of the Senate, House and Justice Department are conducting multiple, concurrent investigations into Russia’s involvement in last year’s election, and the Judiciary Committee sought approval from Mr. Mueller, a former FBI director, to interview Mr. Trump and Mr. Manafort to avoid creating a conflict between the panel’s probe and the special counsel’s.

Mr. Grassley said last week he is willing to subpoena the president’s son and Mr. Manafort if they refuse the Judiciary Committee’s investigation to testify.

Neither the younger Mr. Trump nor Mr. Manafort commented publicly about Ms. Feinstein’s comment. The White House has denied colluding with Russian operatives during or after last year’s election.

Ms. Veselnitskaya, meanwhile, said Wednesday she hopes to testify as well to “clarify the situation behind this mass hysteria.”

“If the Senate wishes to hear the real story, I will be happy to speak up and share everything I wanted to tell Mr. Trump,” she told Russian state-owned media.

The government’s investigations into last year’s presidential election come on the heels of an intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the race by targeting Mr. Clinton’s campaign with state-sponsored hackers and propagandists. Moscow has adamantly denied accusations of interference.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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