Grassley: Blumenthal's Concerns About Don Jr.'s Senate Testimony Based on Fake News
National Public Radio on Friday amended its incorrect "bombshell" report alleging that Donald Trump Jr. may have given false testimony before the Senate in September 2017, but Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) doesn't seem to have gotten the memo.
In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley on Monday, Blumenthal called for Trump Jr. to be hauled back to Congress for further questioning because his testimony conflicted with the account President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, gave in a guilty plea in federal court.
Blumenthal also cited a highly questionable CNN article from July 2018 suggesting that Trump Jr. may have lied when he said he did not tell his father in advance about the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting. CNN's source for that story was Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, who later retracted his allegations.
Blumenthal tweeted the following statement about his letter to Grassley:
Grassley responded to Blumenthal's concerns in a delightfully piquant three-page letter debunking his claims.
He informed the seemingly inattentive Democrat that the “recent press reports” pertaining to Trump Jr.'s testimony were based on "fake news."
You referenced “recent press reports” for that claim, but did not cite any in the footnote to that sentence. I suspect I know why. On November 30, 2018, NPR published a story titled “Trump Jr.’s 2017 Testimony Conflicts with Cohen’s Account of Russian Talks.”
The article made this argument – claiming that Cohen’s acknowledgement that the real estate efforts had continued into 2016 somehow implicated Trump Jr., as though Trump Jr. had told the Committee it had ended earlier. That was fake news. The author had mischaracterized a section of the transcript referring to a different, earlier attempt that had ended before the presidential campaign. NPR corrected the story, admitting:
An earlier version of this report mischaracterized an answer Donald Trump Jr. gave to Senate investigators in 2017 about the prospective projects his family was negotiating with people in Moscow. . . . Trump Jr. did acknowledge in his testimony that Cohen and another man were exploring a possible deal in Moscow in 2015 or 2016. The interview transcript clearly reflects this acknowledgement. Any claim to the contrary is incorrect.
The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman went on to assure Blumenthal that there was "nothing inconsistent" with Trump Jr.'s testimony about the Moscow deal.
Grassley then moved on to the Connecticut senator's next "puzzling" claim, which he noted was also "the subject of a high-profile retraction."