Donald Trump Jr. may want to lawyer up.
The House Intelligence Committee reopened its Russia investigation on Wednesday and immediately voted to give special counsel Robert Mueller unfettered access to transcripts from all its previous closed-door interviews — a move that could spell big trouble for the Trump son.
Trump Jr. testified before the committee in December 2017, and Rep. Adam Schiff, the panel’s newly-minted Democratic chairman, has long intimated that the presidential heir may have lied under oath in those proceedings — explosive allegations that could prompt Mueller to file perjury or obstruction charges.
The vote to release the Russia probe transcripts, the committee’s first act under Schiff’s new leadership, came just hours after President Trump complained in his State of the Union address that “ridiculous partisan investigations” are holding the country back.
Schiff (D-Calif.) specified he’s releasing the interview transcripts to Mueller’s office for the purpose of possible prosecution, with “no restrictions.”
A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment “on our interactions with Congress.” A representative for Trump Jr. did not respond to emailed questions.
But the President derided Schiff as a “political hack who’s trying to build a name for himself.”
“It’s just presidential harassment and it’s unfortunate and it really does hurt our country,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Others in Trump’s inner circle who have testified before the House panel include son-in-law Jared Kushner, former campaign chiefs Steve Bannon and Corey Lewandowski, ex-White House aide Hope Hicks and current campaign manager Brad Parscale.
The special counsel has already indicted several Trump associates on counts similar to the ones Schiff has hinted at, including the President’s longtime confidant Roger Stone, who was charged last month with lying to House and Senate intel investigators about his contacts with WikiLeaks.
Schiff said his committee’s Russia probe, which was shuttered by Republicans last year, is coming back with a vengeance and will expand beyond its initial scope and aggressively look into whether any foreign actors are holding financial or other leverage over the President, his family or businesses.
The inquiry will also continue to look into “links and/or coordination” between Trump associates and Russians ahead of the 2016 election, according to Schiff.
“Congress has a duty to expose foreign interference, hold Russia to account, ensure that U.S. officials — including the President — are serving the national interest and, if not, are held accountable,” Schiff said in a statement.
Under the leadership of former Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the intel panel ended its original Russia inquiry in March 2018, concluding there had been no collusion between Russians and Trump associates.
Schiff made clear Wednesday he disagrees with Nunes’s conclusion and plans to undertake sweeping oversight as part of the reopened probe.
Beyond Russian ties and possible financial leverage against Trump, the chairman said he’ll focus on “credible reports of money laundering and financial compromise” relating to the President’s companies, including the Trump Organization.
He also said the committee will probe whether Trump, his associates or family members have sought to “influence U.S. government policy in the service of foreign interests,” or whether any actors have “impeded, obstructed and/or misled authorized investigations into these matters.”
Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Schiff mysteriously postponed ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s testimony planned for Friday “in the interests of the investigation.”
Cohen, who’s cooperating in Mueller’s inquiry, will now instead testify before the panel behind closed doors on Feb. 28 — just six days before he’s expected to start his three-year prison sentence on a laundry list of charges, including lying to Congress and paying off women at the direction of the President.
Republicans on the intel committee welcomed the vote to release the interview transcripts and pushed for them to be released publicly as well.
But Schiff declined a blanket motion to put out all transcripts publicly, saying many of them are still undergoing confidentiality reviews.
Facing a myriad of state and federal investigations into his administration, campaign, company and foundation, Trump used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to push for an end to the mounting pressure he’s facing.