On the very same day that House Republicans exonerated Donald Trump of all wrongdoing in their redaction-riddled report, and that we subsequently found out the Russian lawyer who met with top Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower was an “informant” to the Russian government, we now also know House Republicans purposely avoided seeking critical information about that very same meeting.
According to a new report written by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Republicans blocked their efforts to track down information about whether then-candidate Trump had advance knowledge of the meeting that promised to produce “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. The Washington Post‘s Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent write:
According to the Democratic response, right after Donald Jr. set up the specifics of this meeting, he had two calls with a number in Russia belonging to Emin Agalarov.
Between those two calls, the Democratic response recounts, Trump Jr. received a third call from a blocked number. Who might it have been? […]
“We sought to determine whether that number belonged to the president, because we also ascertained that then-candidate Trump used a blocked number,” [Democratic Rep. Adam] Schiff said in an interview. “That would tell us whether Don Jr. sought his father’s permission to take the meeting, and [whether] that was the purpose of that call.”
Democrats wanted to subpoena the phone records to find out but Republicans “refused” to do that, according to Schiff.
The Republican report exonerating Trump said only that the Trump campaign had exhibited “poor judgment” in taking the meeting, and Trump has denied that he knew anything about the meeting before it took place.
But as Sargent and Waldman note, Trump did seem to anticipate he would soon possess juicy information on Clinton during a campaign speech on June 7, 2016, just two days before Don Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner sat down with a Russian “informant” and her entourage at Trump Tower.
“I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.”
That speech never came about. But within less than a week, hacked DNC documents began flowing to the internet and they would continue to plague Team Hillary throughout July 2016, just in time to cause chaos at the Democratic National Convention.