Just six days before Donald Trump Jr. is set to testify before Congress in public hearings about his role in his father’s Russia collusion scandal, the Democrats are hinting that they have knowledge of additional points of contact between Junior and Russia. This sets up a fascinating cat and mouse game which may leave Junior with no choice but to spill the beans during his testimony, and no good options either way.
While Donald Trump Jr. will be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrat Jackie Speier of the House Intelligence Committee is the one making clear that her party knows what else Junior has been up to. She appeared on MSNBC and hinted at an additional phone call between Junior and Russia, as well as additional meetings (video). This is just specific enough to make clear to Junior that they have something additional on him, but just vague enough to keep him guessing as to which other meetings or conversations they have evidence of.
That means that when Donald Trump Jr. goes to testify, he can’t win no matter how he plays it. If he claims under oath that he didn’t have any additional Russia contacts, and the Democrats have proof that he did, then he’s guilty of perjury and he can go to prison for it. But if he decides to come clean during his testimony about his additional Russia contacts, then he risks making it much easier for investigators to pry further into whatever crimes he and his father committed during the Russia scandal. His third option would be to repeatedly plead the Fifth Amendment, on live national television, making himself and his father look overwhelmingly guilty in the court of public opinion.
What’s remarkable here is that even though Donald Trump Jr. has to know the Democrats are laying this trap for him, he still can’t win. So now we wait to see which losing hand he decides to play. And failing to show up isn’t an option, because the Republican Chair of the committee just said he’ll have Junior arrested by U.S. Marshals if he doesn’t show up and testify.