In a clear attempt of political bribery, President Donald Trump last week called Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the judiciary committee investigating his son, Donald Trump Jr, and promised him “unlimited federal support” for a key policy issue for the lawmaker.
In the call, Trump promised Grassley critical federal support for the biofuel ethanol, reported The Guardian. Grassley is a major advocate of the ethanol industry.
The phone call came less than a day after it was reported that Trump’s eldest son had reached an agreement with the committee to appear in a private session and answer investigators’ questions. The committee, which has oversight of the Department of Justice, is investigating a 2016 meeting that occurred in Trump Tower before November’s election. During the meeting, Trump Jr and other campaign staff met with Russian operatives after being promised compromising information about the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
A spokesman for Grassley confirmed the phone call via email: “The president called Senator Grassley and talked about ethanol. It was a two-minute conversation. Senator Grassley told the president he was glad to hear him voice his support for ethanol and that he would tweet about it to the people of Iowa.”
Minutes later, Grassley tweeted:
Tlkd 2 @realDonaldTrump about ethanol +he knows that ethanol is good good good
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) August 30, 2017
Grassley has emerged as an important potential ally for the US president given his position on the judiciary committee, one of several congressional committees that is investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
The timing of the president’s call is most noteworthy because it came just as the committee’s forthcoming interview of Trump Jr was publicly confirmed. A specific date has not yet been released, but investigators are expected to question the president’s son about the nature of a 2016 meeting, which Trump Jr attended after being promised he would obtain compromising information about the Clinton campaign.
The meeting was attended by Paul Manafort, Trump’s then campaign manager, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer, and Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer.