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Jake Tapper on Don Jr’s Refusal to Testify to Senate Again: ‘Why Not Answer Questions About This If There’s Nothing to Hide?’

On Monday evening, CNN’s Jake Tapper questioned Donald Trump Jr.’s reluctance to testify a second time before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his role in the 2016 campaign and Russian election interference: “Why not answer questions about this if there’s nothing to hide?”

Tapper’s query came after breaking news from CNN that Trump’s eldest son had been in talks since December to voluntarily reappear before the committee, but that those discussions broke down last month, prompting Republican chairman Sen. Richard Burr [R-NC] to issue a subpoena for Trump Jr. last week. According to CNN, Trump Jr. became wary of reappearing after the committee’s staff submitted to his legal team a list of 20 topics they wanted to discuss and after they indicated there would be no time or subject matter limits to the questioning.

The roots of the standoff lie in the contradictions between Trump Jr.’s previous Senate testimony and Michael Cohen’s testimony about the role of the president’s eldest son in the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians officials promising dirt on Hillary Clinton and the negotiations for potentially building a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Tapper pointed out that the Mueller report essentially cleared Trump Jr. of any criminal wrongdoing by choosing not file any charges against him, and yet the Senate Intelligence Committee still seeks to talk to him. However, one of Tapper’s guests on The Lead, CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny, pointed out that scope of the two investigations were not the same. The Special Counsel probe into Russian election interference and the campaign’s potential collusion with it was a legal investigation, which resulted in a number of indictments and guilty pleas from member of President Donald Trump’s campaign and Trump Organization.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s inquiry, on the other hand, focuses on the counterintelligence aspects of any 2016 Russian election influence. That remains especially relevant since recent news reports and a worldwide threat assessment from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats back in January suggest that foreign meddling is expected to be active during the upcoming 2020 presidential campaign as well.

Watch video above, via CNN.

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