Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), who just last week denounced the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee for issuing a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr. to provide additional testimony about his Russian contacts during the 2016 campaign, conceded on Wednesday he would be open to hearing from the president’s eldest son. But, he added, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) should then focus on the question he deems more important: why there was a Russian investigation at all.
The abrupt change of heart comes as Republicans ramp up their calls for a sham investigation into baseless allegations that the Trump campaign was illegally or improperly wiretapped or otherwise spied on at the direction of his predecessor, President Barack Obama. Despite repeatedly answering about the origins of its inquiry, the intelligence community has yet to convince Republicans that the investigation into Russian interference was rooted in hard evidence.
McClintock, who sits in the minority on the House Judiciary Committee, complained in a Fox News interview on Saturday that the GOP-controlled Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had subpoenaed the president’s son — a move that undermined attempts by President Trump and Congressional Republicans to (falsely) spin Robert Mueller’s report as a complete and total vindication of alleged illegal foreign coordination and obstruction of justice. “I don’t understand Richard Burr at all,” he griped, suggesting that instead of continuing to do oversight on “the most investigated administration in the history of the country,” Senate Republicans should instead by investigating why the previous administration began examining Trump’s Russian ties to begin with.
But a day after Donald Jr. agreed to comply with the subpoena, McClintock told CNN that there was ample reason to re-interview him about clear inconsistencies between his earlier testimony and other witnesses.
“They do have the right to do that,” McClintock conceded. “If there are questions over discrepancies between his recollection and others, I’ve got no problems with resolving those discrepancies, I just hope that the intelligence committee is also using it’s time to look into the activities of the intelligence agencies, the CIA and the NSA in promoting what they knew was a phony dossier that created a false narrative over the president’s conduct.”
Pressed as to whether he now believed a follow-up interview to be legitimate, he affirmed that he did. “As I said, there’s nothing wrong with that. They should resolve any discrepancies in testimonies.”
After months of pressure from the president and Congressional Republicans, Trump’s handpicked attorney general, William Barr, announced this week that he has appointed a federal prosecutor to look into why the Russian investigation began.