The Senate Judiciary Committee intends to release transcripts of its interviews with President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., and others who participated in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer allegedly promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said Thursday that the committee would disclose “all witness interviews that we have done related to that meeting,” making them available to the public “for everyone to see.” The committee’s interviews, which were conducted behind closed doors, are complete, he added.
Grassley said the transcripts must be redacted first. It was not immediately clear when that process will be complete. Two of the five transcripts still require legal vetting as well, he said. When asked whether public testimony from these witnesses has been ruled out now, the senator said, “I wouldn’t say anything’s off table, but (it’s) not likely.”
Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) said Thursday she was “delighted” by Grassley’s intentions.
The committee spoke with Trump Jr. in September, and in the last several months has also interviewed other participants in the Trump Tower meeting, including music promoter Rob Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, U.S.-based Russian real estate employee Ike Kaveladze and Anatoli Samochornov, the translator for Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who answered the committee’s questions in writing.
A lawyer for Trump Jr., Alan Futerfas, declined to comment Thursday. Attorneys for Goldstone and Akhmetshin did not immediately respond to messages, and The Washington Post was unable to reach Veselnitskaya. A lawyer for Kaveladze, Scott Balber, said his client has cooperated fully with all government inquiries, adding, “We are pleased that his testimony will be made publicly available.”
The panel never spoke with President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, or with his former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Both also attended the Trump Tower meeting.
Grassley said Thursday that the panel’s “chances of getting a voluntary interview with Mr. Kushner has been shot,” and blamed Feinstein for having “spooked” potential witnesses when she unilaterally released the transcript of the panel’s interview with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Simpson and his company were involved in producing a now-famous dossier detailing alleged ties between Trump and the Kremlin.
Grassley’s team has blamed Feinstein for costing the committee an interview with Manafort in July, just before FBI agents raided his apartment in Alexandria, Va. Feinstein denies the insinuation and has faulted Grassley for failing to subpoena Manafort’s testimony.
Kushner and Manafort have spoken with the Senate Intelligence Committee. There are three congressional committees conducting probes of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
On Thursday, Grassley said he hoped that Feinstein, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, could broker a deal for Grassley to be able to view the transcript of that committee’s interview with Kushner, as she did with Manafort. The Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), has thus far resisted Grassley’s entreaties.
Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger contributed to this report.