Andy Surabian, spokesman for President Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump, Jr., said on Saturday that Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) should officially leave the Republican Party and join the Democrat Party because he has proven he is not a Republican by issuing a rogue subpoena of Trump, Jr.
“You know why there has been serious backlash?” Surabian said when asked about the near-universal backlash against Burr from across the GOP, including by several of his own committee membe, in response to the subpoena issued in contravention of the Senate Majority Leader’s statement that the investigation is case closed. “Because Republicans don’t like seeing their Senate Intel chair mimicking Adam Schiff. Richard Burr should put a D next to his name and drop this whole charade that he’s a Republican.”
Surabian is Trump, Jr.’s spokesman, and this interview on Saturday was the first he has conducted since the news broke late Wednesday evening of the rogue subpoena issued to the president’s son despite McConnell’s “case closed” edict.
Surabian noted that by engaging in conduct he says amounts to harassment of the first family, Burr has demonstrated he has more in common with several leading Democrats like House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). In fact, Surabian argued that Warner is Burr’s “master” and Burr’s “owner,” and that Burr clearly cannot think for himself or act of his own accord, something Surabian said was an “absolute disgrace.”
“He has a lot more in common these days with Jerry Nadler, with Adam Schiff, with his good buddy–his master, his owner on the Senate Intel Committee–Mark Warner, than he does with any Republican I know,” Surabian said. “It’s an absolute disgrace. Richard Burr, who has been a longtime elected Republican, he’s been in the swamp for decades now, he’s a swamp creature, but he had always kind of been fashioning himself as a Republican. It’s actually a shame to watch him disgrace his entire career in the past few days. Forever more now, because of this, Senator Burr won’t be known as a Republican Senator from North Carolina. He won’t be known as a conservative from North Carolina. He’s going to be known as Jeff Flake’s and Bob Corker’s third Never Trump amigo. He has forever tainted himself in the eyes of Republicans and I’m actually sad to see it. I think when all is said and done, like Flake and like Corker, Richard Burr is going to have higher approval ratings with Democrats than he ever will again with Republican voters. But you know what? Maybe that’s what he wants.”
What’s more, Surabian said, by taking this extreme step of issuing a rogue subpoena to the son of the president of the United States in contravention of the position of he Senate Majority Leader, Burr has destroyed the idea that the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation was somehow “bipartisan.” Many in the media and political class in Washington have claimed that this investigation was the last remaining congressional probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that had not been ruined by partisan rancor in D.C. But now, Surabian says, Burr has destroyed that claim–and devolved his investigation into a partisan mess at Warner’s behest.
“This isn’t bipartisanship,” Surabian said. “This is Mark Warner and the Democrats leading Richard Burr around wearing a little collar. That’s what this is. And as you pointed out, Don Jr. has already been put through hell. He’s already had to testify for 25 plus hours. He testified for nine hours in front of this very committee in December of 2017, he had his life terrorized by Robert Mueller and his gang of Democrats, and for the last two years had to sustain daily predictions from liberals and the media that he was going to be indicted and go to jail. What did we see when Mueller finally released his report? You know what we saw. No crimes committed by Don Jr. No indictments. You would think that a guy who’s been put through–cleared on all accounts. You would think that somebody who’s been put through that wouldn’t be someone that a supposed Republican committee would continue to think it’s a good idea to harass. I think you actually made a really good point. I see a lot of the liberal types out there saying things like, ‘oh, Don Jr. isn’t part of government so there is no executive privilege.’ That’s actually fair. But you know what? The very fact that he’s not in government, the very fact that he’s a private citizen, that’s what makes this all the more disturbing. Were these congressional committees really set up so they could terrorize private citizens? So they could wreck the lives, or attempt to wreck the lives of private citizens? Were they set up so private citizens would have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars responding to the federal government? Were they set up so private citizens would have to spend hours and hours and hours and weeks and weeks and weeks and months and months of their lives dealing with this nonsense? I don’t think that’s what they were set up for, and here’s the thing. Don committed no crimes. Mueller already said that. This committee has actually already said that, listen, this isn’t a criminal thing. Well if not’s a criminal thing, and you already had the guy testify for 25 hours, then what the hell are you doing here?”
Surabian also said that despite arguments from some–like one of the few GOP senators who defended Burr, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)–this is somehow an “oversight” investigation, is also not true because of the fact that Trump, Jr., is a private citizen, and therefore has no government authorities or responsibilities that require “oversight.”
“That’s exactly it. This isn’t oversight,” Surabian said. “This is not the job of the Senate Intel Committee. This is a sign of a terrifying–this is authoritarian, is what this is. Richard Burr and his committee are using authoritarian means to try to bully and harass a private citizen, and more people in the media I think should be concerned about that.”
A number of congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Steve Daines (R-MT), as well as Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Devin Nunes (R-CA)–the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee–Bradley Byrne (R-AL), and Ralph Abraham (R-LA), have all come out in opposition to Burr’s rogue subpoena. Only a handful have defended it. Surabian says this is a defining issue in the GOP, and that the first family expects every single GOP lawmaker on both sides of Capitol Hill to take a clear position as to which side they are on in the matter, and to take one soon.
“This is a red line issue,” Surabian said. “There is no straddling both sides of the fence here. Either you support continuing the witch hunt, either you support what Nadler, Schiff, and now Warner and Burr are doing, or you’re on the side of saying: no, this is done. Mueller cleared the president. Mueller cleared Don Jr. Stop the harassment campaign. Listen, you and I have been involved in Republican politics and a lot of these fights and civil wars in the Republican Party for our entire political careers, and you know I was involved in the Tea Party movement, I was on the Trump campaign–I’ve been on the front lines of the civil war in the Republican Party my entire political career. Now this has been the first time since I got involved in politics where it seemed like Republicans were united, so that’s why I don’t really understand why Senator Burr and these Senate Intel hacks are so intent on basically fomenting an entire new civil war. Do they think the grassroots are just going to sit silently while they go after Don Jr.? They have another thing coming. If they think they’re not going to get calls to their offices, if they think there’s not going to be protests in front of their local district offices–again, they have another thing coming. They are going after the president and his family.”
Surabian concluded the interview by asking why Burr has not subpoenaed anyone from the deep state behind the origins of the hoax that led to the Mueller investigation that found no collusion or obstruction but wasted nearly two years of Trump’s presidency with all of this nonsense. He also noted how ridiculous it is that the premise of the subpoena to Trump, Jr., is for him to somehow respond to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen–who is currently sitting in a federal prison cell after being convicted of multiple charges including lying to Congress. Asking Trump, Jr., to testify in response to someone sitting in federal prison for lying to Congress is “disturbing,” Surabian said.
“Here’s a question: Why are they subpoenaing Don Jr. and not subpoenaing Christopher Steele?” Surabian said. “Has anyone asked that question? They don’t want to subpoena any of these deep state actors. They want to subpoena the president’s son. They are trying to make this personal. And if you don’t think that Warner and Schiff and Nadler and now Burr have made this thing personal, just turn on cable news and look at some of the things that these committee chairs have been saying about Don for the past two years. It’s very clear that this isn’t about oversight. It’s not about some dumb 20 minute meeting that Mueller had already decided was not a crime. It’s about going after the president’s family and even furthermore–here’s actually the most disturbing part of it–the reason they say he should reappear, the reason they are calling him to testify, is to respond to Michael Cohen’s testimony. Michael Cohen is in jail today for lying to Congress. So why in God’s name should Don be forced to go and be abused because Michael Cohen is continuing to lie to Senate Intel?”
LISTEN TO ANDY SURABIAN ON BREITBART NEWS SATURDAY: