Richard Burr’s Home State Fellow GOP Senator Turns on Him, Backs Donald Trump Jr. in Subpoena Fight Instead

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 01: Chairman Richard Burr (R), attends a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill, on August 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony about foreign influence on social media platforms. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) is speaking out against his fellow GOP North Carolinian Sen. Richard Burr’s decision to issue a rogue subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee of President Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr.

The subpoena from Burr was issued in contravention of direct orders from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who declared the entire Russia hoax “case closed” earlier this week.

So now Tillis’ decision to speak out publicly against the rogue Burr subpoena is a massive development that will have big implications in the Senate, and in both Burr’s and Tillis’s home state of North Carolina.

Tillis is the latest in a long line of Republicans to turn on Burr in the wake of the issuance of the rogue subpoena to Trump, Jr., joining Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), and Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Bradley Byrne (R-AL)–among others. Tillis is perhaps, though, the most influential given his closeness with Burr–they are very friendly–and given the fact they both represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.

While all these Republicans have publicly ripped Burr’s move, no Republicans have risen to defend the embattled Senate Intelligence Committee chairman. In fact, offered the opportunity on Wednesday evening and on Thursday morning, no Senate Republican member of the Intelligence Committee would either issue statements in public support of Burr’s subpoena or of Burr himself remaining chairman of the committee.

These Senate offices include Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), who is up for re-election in Texas in 2020; Tom Cotton (R-AR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Jim Risch (R-ID).

Tillis is up for re-election in 2020, and has framed his campaign as one where he aims to defend President Trump and his policies from critics on the left. Tillis is facing a primary, and his campaign manager told local media that he aims to be the pro-Trump candidate.

“Senator Tillis is no stranger to primaries and he is fully prepared for another,” Tillis’s campaign manager said, according to a local blog in North Carolina. “He looks forward to defending President Trump and his policies against any anti-Trump activist who chooses to enter the race.”

What’s more, on Thursday, Tillis’ campaign pushed out materials claiming his primary opponent is anti-Trump:

All in all, though, Tillis’ move to throw Burr under the bus on the Trump Jr., subpoena is a pretty big and bold first move on the re-election campaign to prove he is sufficiently pro-Trump in the U.S. Senate to warrant a second term. It remains to be seen what Tillis does next, but this definitely caught team Trump’s attention as several sources close to the White House were pleased with Tillis’ move against Burr on Thursday morning telling Breitbart News that those close to the president are happy.


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