Trump says Mueller testimony up to Barr, and he was "surprised" by Trump Jr. subpoena

By Emily Tillett

/ CBS News

President Trump said that he would leave it to Attorney General William Barr to decide whether special counsel Robert Mueller should testify before lawmakers about his nearly two-year long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

This comes as a reversal for Mr. Trump who previously said that Mueller should not testify before Congress, claiming there were "no redos for the Dems." During Barr's own testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the attorney general said he had "no objection" to letting Mueller testify.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump said he was "surprised" to find out that his son, Donald Trump Jr., had been subpoenaed by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee.

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"My son's a very good person, he works very hard. The last thing he needs is Washington, D.C. He'd rather not be involved," the president said in defense of his son. The subpoena calls for Trump Jr. to return and answer questions about his prior Russia-related testimony. Intelligence Committee Co-Chairman Mark Warner told reporters on Thursday that the committee has "always reserved the right to call [witnesses] back."

"After being exonerated, for my son, to again get a subpoena…yeah, I'm pretty surprised," Mr. Trump added.

Here's what else Trump talked about:

North Korea's missile launch: "We're looking at it very seriously right now," said Mr. Trump of the three missiles the North fired this week. "Nobody is happy about it, but we're taking a close look at it." The president, claimed "the relationship continues" with the North Korean regime.

Trade with China: Mr. Trump said the U.S. was getting "very close" to a trade deal with China, but the Chinese "started to renegotiate the deal."

"We can't have that," he admonished. Mr. Trump, meanwhile, said he's received a "very beautiful letter" from President Xi Jinping, ahead of ongoing trade discussions at the White House.

"Let's work together — let's get something done," he said, addressing China, noting, however, that he's happy to keep collecting a billion dollars a year in tariffs from China, if there's no trade deal.

On Iran: Mr. Trump told reporters he would welcome a call from the Iranian regime to negotiate a new deal to end its nuclear program.

In the process, Mr. Trump accused former Secretary of State John Kerry of telling Iran not to call the U.S. for such discussions, calling Kerry's communication with Iran a "violation of the Logan Act" and suggesting that Kerry should be prosecuted for interfering.

First published on May 9, 2019 / 1:10 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Emily Tillett

Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital

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