Vermont Delegation Reacts Cautiously to Trump Jr. Meeting | Off Message

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Vermont Delegation Reacts Cautiously to Trump Jr. Meeting


Vermont's congressional delegation and their spouses. - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Vermont's congressional delegation and their spouses.
A cascade of revelations about a meeting between President Donald Trump's son and a Kremlin-connected lawyer has drawn the attention of Vermont's congressional delegation. But despite the rush of new developments, the delegation's three members appear to be reacting cautiously.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) both called for further investigation Tuesday. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has refused Seven Days' interview requests for more than 26 months, did not respond to a request for comment.

The New York Times has reported in recent days that the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., and other top advisers met with a Russian attorney in June 2016 to discuss information that could damage Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, the Times published emails suggesting that Trump Jr. knew the information came from Russian officials and was comfortable with that.

Leahy spokesperson David Carle said Vermont's senior senator "believes that Donald Jr.'s meeting raises exceedingly serious and troubling issues." He did not go as far as Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Clinton's 2016 running mate, who called Trump Jr.'s actions "beyond obstruction of justice" and "potentially treason."

"[Leahy] continues to believe that it's crucially important to gather all the facts … so determinations can be made about whether and what crimes were committed," Carle said.

Leahy called on Trump Jr. to appear soon before the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which the Vermonter serves. Carle said the issue is also expected to come up during the committee's confirmation hearing Wednesday for Christopher Wray, the president's nominee for FBI director.

Welch had a similar response. According to spokesperson Kate Hamilton, he expects special counsel Robert Mueller to probe the matter. Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

"[Welch] believes we should follow the facts uncovered by this investigation wherever they lead," Hamilton said.

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