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Mueller Report

Donald Trump Jr subpoenaed to testify before Senate panel in Russia probe

It was the first known legal summons issued to a member of the president’s family.

DONALD TRUMP JR has been ordered to testify in front of the Senate after the White House invoked executive privilege to overrule a subpoena for information in the Russia probe. 

Democrats voted to hold US attorney general, William Barr, in contempt for refusing to release the unredacted version of the Mueller report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

The move came after the White House invoked executive privilege to deny a request from the Senate House Judiciary committee for the unredacted report. 

US media have now reported the republican-led Senate Intelligence committee has moved to subpoena Donald Trump Jr to testify as part of the investigation. 

It was the first known legal summons issued to a member of the president’s family to force testimony in the ongoing investigation, and comes after special counsel Robert Mueller declined to accuse Trump’s 2016 campaign of criminal conspiracy to collude with the Russians.

Trump Jr previously testified voluntarily in private to the committee, and was peppered with questions about a June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York with a Russian lawyer who had offered them dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Committee aides would not confirm the subpoena or what they want to discuss with the president’s eldest son, who currently helps run the Trump Organization.

Citing a person close to Trump Jr, The Wall Street Journal reported he had offered to answer questions in writing from the committee, and planned to fight the subpoena, which demands he testify in person.

The White House has been seeking to shield a large swathe of material — including redacted portions of Mueller’s report — subpoenaed by lawmakers seeking to exert their oversight responsibility.

“This was a very grave and momentous step we were forced to take today,” committee chairman Jerry Nadler said after the party-line vote.

Nadler said the contempt citation will proceed “rapidly” for a full house vote but did not offer a timeline.

He accused Trump and the White House of stonewalling by preventing America’s congressional representatives from conducting oversight of the executive branch.

“It’s an attack on the essence of our democracy,” Nadler said adding “we are now in a constitutional crisis”.

The Department of Justice swiftly shot back, branding the contempt vote “inappropriate political theatrics”.

Hours earlier, Trump made clear he would assert his executive privilege to keep Mueller’s full report under wraps.

“Neither the White House nor Attorney General Barr will comply with Chairman (Jerry) Nadler’s unlawful and reckless demands,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

With reporting from © AFP 2019

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