WASHINGTON >> Donald Trump Jr. and the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee reached a deal today for the president’s eldest son to sit for a private interview with senators in the coming weeks that will be limited in time, an accord that should cool a heated intraparty standoff.
The deal came after an aggressive push by the younger Trump’s allies, who accused the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., of caving to Democrats by issuing a subpoena for the president’s son’s testimony. They called the effort a political hit job against the White House, using the president’s son as fodder.
Burr told fellow Republican senators last week that the president’s son had twice agreed to voluntary interviews but had not shown up, forcing the subpoena.
President Trump’s lawyer had prepared a blistering letter to send to the committee, telling its members that Donald Trump Jr. would not submit to open-ended questions before a panel that included multiple Democrats running for president, according to people familiar with its contents. The lawyers had prepared to send the letter on Monday.
But they received a call from committee aides, asking if there was a “reasonable” path forward, according to a person familiar with the events.
The compromise was an appearance by Trump in the middle of June, with questions limited to about a half-dozen topics, with the time no longer than two to four hours, according to a person briefed. Another person, who would not be identified, contested that the scope was of the topics had been limited.
A spokeswoman for Burr declined to comment.
The move by the younger Trump’s associates was straight out of his father’s playbook — set the terms of the debate at the most extreme end of the discussion, then cut a deal and look gracious.
The agreement provides Burr with an off-ramp from the confrontation, as well. If the younger Trump had refused to appear, the chairman would have faced a painful choice between initiating contempt of Congress proceedings and undercutting the independence of his two-year investigation of Russian election interference.