Panel drops order for Manafort to testify
US President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman will not testify before the Senate judiciary committee as originally scheduled after the committee dropped its subpoena.
The committee withdrew its subpoena for Paul Manafort late on Tuesday after Manafort agreed to turn over documents and to continue negotiating about setting up an interview with the panel, according to Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Senator Chuck Grassley, the committee chairman.
The committee also removed Donald Trump Jr from the list of witnesses scheduled for Wednesday’s public hearing.
The panel has sought to talk with Manafort about a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting in New York with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, among other issues including his foreign political work on behalf of Ukrainian interests.
Manafort met Senate intelligence committee staff on Tuesday, providing his recollection of the Veselnitskaya meeting and agreeing to turn over contemporaneous notes of the gathering last year, according to people familiar with the closed-door interview.
Manafort “answered their questions fully”, his spokesman said.
Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner was also on Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a second day of private meetings, this time for a conversation with lawmakers on the House intelligence committee.
Both Manafort and Kushner have been co-operating with the committees which, along with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, are probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Trump associates.
The two men have faced particular scrutiny about attending the Trump Tower meeting because it was flatly described in emails to Donald Trump Jr as being part of a Russian government effort to aid Trump’s presidential campaign.
Manafort’s discussion with committee staff was limited to his recollection of the June 2016 meeting.
Manafort had previously disclosed the meeting in documents he turned over to the committee and has now provided the committee with notes he took at the time.
Kushner spent about three hours behind closed doors Tuesday with the House intelligence panel.
Republican Mike Conaway, who is leading the committee’s Russia probe, said he found Kushner to be “straightforward, forthcoming, wanted to answer every question we had”.
The committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, said the questions touched on “a range of issues the committee had been concerned about”.