Democrats Prepare To Subpoena Phone Records Linked To Trump Tower Meeting

Amid a whirlwind of upcoming hearings and subpoena requests, including an upcoming inquiry into Trump’s taxes, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are preparing to issue a subpoena as soon as Thursday to obtain phone records linked to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer, The Hill reports.

The upcoming subpoena will be the first order Rep. Adam Schiff will issue as Democratic chairman of the committee, and the process of preparing the order came one day after the committee became formally constituted. While details about the specifics of the subpoena remain unclear, the order goes to the heart of the committee’s plan to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

As expected, the Trump Tower meeting has come under scrutiny after Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son in law Jared Kushner and then-White House campaign manager Paul Manafort met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the 2016 election in an effort to obtain dirt on the Clinton campaign. While questions had swirled about who Trump Jr. talked to on a blocked number ahead of the meeting, CNN reported earlier this month that the Senate investigators have learned that Trump Jr.’s phone calls were not made to his father. As a reminder, sources told CNN that Senate Intelligence Committee had received records that Trump Jr. talked to two of his business associates in that phone call.

Separately, the AP reports that according to a newly unsealed court transcript in Paul Manafort’s criminal case, the August 2016 meeting between President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and an associate with ties to Russian intelligence goes to the “heart” of the Russia investigation. A prosecutor for special counsel Robert Mueller says the meeting between Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik goes to the “larger view of what we think is going on” and what “we think the motive here is.”

Previous court documents have revealed that one of the topics discussed by Manafort and Kilimnik was a possible peace plan to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Crimea. The comments came during a hearing over whether Manafort lied to investigators and violated the terms of his plea agreement. Many details from the transcript are blacked out.

As for Schiff’s subpoena, it will be the first of many as Democrats on the panel scrutinize whether foreign actors have sought to gain leverage or even influence Trump and those in his inner circle, according to the parameters of the probe Schiff laid out on Wednesday.