WASHINGTON – Even before Donald Trump Jr. released on Tuesday the bombshell emails he exchanged with an acquaintance who offered to arrange a meeting with a Russian attorney promising incriminating information about Hillary Clinton, Republican and Democratic senators told TMN earlier in the day that his sit-down with the lawyer last summer was worrisome and is worthy of further examination.
“All of this evidence is profoundly troubling and should be investigated by the special prosecutor,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
Blumenthal, a Judiciary Committee member, said that committee along with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence also should investigate the meeting.
“It should be investigated by both the Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee because of the potential need for legislation and so that the American people can be made aware of what happened and also protect the integrity of the system,” he explained.
In an interview with NBC News that aired Tuesday, Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya denied reports that she is connected to the Kremlin.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) pointed to Trump’s Jr.’s acknowledgment that the meeting was arranged to garner information harmful to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“I think it’s probably pretty obvious that they were gathering because they thought they were going to get information from Russia that would be damaging to Secretary Clinton,” McCaskill said.
“The investigators will have to figure it out … What exactly occurred, and when and what Donald Trump Jr. knew when he agreed to the meeting. And that will be up to [Independent Counsel] Mr. [Robert] Mueller and the committees of jurisdiction to ask those questions,” she explained.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was more cautious in his response.
“I don’t know other than what’s been reported in the press,” Rubio said. “I imagine the Intelligence Committee will look at that as part of an overall process.”
Rubio, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, said that investigating the circumstances behind the meeting, in his opinion, falls within the jurisdiction of the independent counsel rather than Congress.
“Our job is to kind of explain to people the tactics that Russia under Putin uses to try to influence elections,” he explained.
Multiple Congressional committees are investigating Russia’s attempt to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as allegations of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and high-ranking Russian officials.
After Trump Jr. released emails he exchanged with music publicist Rob Goldstone, who offered to set up the meeting with the Russian attorney, some lawmakers became even more rattled.
Sen Tim Kaine (D-Va,), who was Clinton’s running mate, said Trump Jr. may have committed treason when he agreed to meet with the lawyer to get dirt on Clinton.
“We are now beyond obstruction of justice,” he told CNN Tuesday. “This is moving into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason.”
Trump Jr. said that he garnered no helpful information about Clinton from the attorney during their meeting and that she wanted to discuss international adoption.
Both he and his father have said the president was unaware of the meeting at the time.