Trump Jr subpoena was sent when interviews declined

Congress-Russia Probe-Trump Jr [File] Donald Trump Jr. | AP

According to chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Donald Trump Jr. was subpoenaed after he backed out of two scheduled interviews as part of the panel's Russia investigation.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, who signed off on the subpoena justified his decision to his Republican colleagues. The panel wants to go over answers Trump Jr. gave the panel's staff in a 2017 interview and ask further questions.

In recent months, Trump Jr. agreed twice to appear for voluntary interviews with the Intelligence Committee, but backed out later. This is the first known subpoena of a member of the president's immediate family. The news prompted some strong words from Republicans and some event went as far to say that Trump Jr should not comply. The subpoena highlights a delicate bind facing Burr, who has been adamant that the panel's Russia probe be bipartisan and fair and has worked closely with the panel's top Democrat, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham advised Trump Jr. to just go with it and plead the fifth, the amendment that protects citizens from incriminating themselves. He also added that Trump Jr.'s lawyer would “have to be an idiot” to let him testify before the panel again.

In 2017, Trump Jr. had said that he was “peripherally aware” of his father's plans to expand his businesses into Russia. However, in February, when Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen testified before the Congress, he said that Trump Jr. was far more involved than that in talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Trump Jr. and his allies are making a strong pushback against Burr and he be forced to make a difficult decision if Trump Jr. defies the subpoena. According to Trump Jr.'s lawyers, details about the Trump Tower and the Moscow meeting are presented in the Mueller report despite Trump Jr declining to speak to the special counsel's office.

But, the panel insists that they want to clear up potential discrepancies from his past testimony about the Russia project.