President Trump slammed the Senate Intelligence Committee after it issued a subpoena for his son Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday, but Fox News political analyst and host Juan Williams says Congress is “asking legitimate questions.”
Trump said during a press conference on Thursday that Trump Jr. was “totally exonerated by Mueller” after he testified in front of the Senate during the special counsel’s Russia probe in 2017, an investigation that came to a close in March after nearly two and a half years, and he’s “surprised” that his son would be called to testify again.
“What we have here with Don Jr. is a situation where Don Jr. indicated to the Congress that he was unaware that his father was pursuing construction of a Trump tower in Moscow during the election,” Williams said on "America’s Newsroom" Friday. “Now we know that that’s not true. They have questions, they have a followup that’s totally legitimate.”
In Trump Jr.’s original testimony, he said that he knew about the plan only “peripherally,” but Michael Cohen, Trump’s ex-lawyer, testified in February that he spoke to Trump Jr. about it some 10 times.
“Congress has a legitimate right, has a constitutional function for oversight, and you can't just ignore subpoenas,” Williams said. “You can’t just treat them like they’re a pest or say, 'Oh, there’s political motivation.' That doesn’t matter.”
The subpoena was issued by Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, who has faced harsh backlash from his GOP colleagues.
“What you see from the president, again, he goes after people. He goes after Bob Mueller, he wants to go after the Congress. Everybody’s political,” Williams said.
The “America’s Newsroom” panel also tackled issues of partisanship within the FBI raised in former director James Comey’s town hall on CNN Thursday.
“Anderson Cooper asked him a question about Russian meddling, and it was a question about the responsibilities of Barack Obama as the commander in chief, and Jim Comey as the head of ... what has been the premier law enforcement agency,” James Freeman, assistant editor of The Wall Street Journal editorial page and Fox News contributor, said Friday. “It was an answer about political spin. It was about how to present things. It had nothing to do with enforcing the law, countering meddling by a foreign power.”
“This was the same problem you had with Comey in the Hillary Clinton investigation,” Freeman continued. “Breaking protocol left and right because what was most important to him was how it was presented in the media or in the political realm.”
“What Jim Comey said last night, in fact, was that Strzok and Page he thought had discredited the FBI with some of their language by introducing the idea, which is not crazy to me, that FBI agents, just like journalists, have political opinions. It doesn’t mean we can't do our job,” Williams argued, referencing the plight the FBI and the Obama administration was in to remain bipartisan throughout their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of sensitive information contained on her email server along with emerging information about possible collusion between Russia and the Trump 2016 campaign.
“They came forward in terms of making sure everybody knew that Hillary Clinton had been reckless I think was the language he used, in terms of her server and the like, but he never mentioned oh gee, we’ve launched an investigation into whether Russia has contacts inside the Trump campaign,” Williams said. “I would think that most people on the right would say well gee, that helped because that would have been so damaging to President Trump’s campaign.”
“What’s rich is the fact that Jim Comey is coming out as a source of everything true in the FBI when in fact a lot of people in the FBI think that he has created a stain that’s going to be hard to remove,” Fox News anchor David Asman countered.