Paul Manafort talks to Senate panel after making deal to avoid public testimony

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort came face-to-face with members of the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday morning, a meeting in which the former GOP adviser reportedly produced notes from a June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower, which is at the center of an ongoing congressional probe.

“Paul Manafort met this morning, by previous agreement, with the bipartisan staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee and answered their questions fully,” read an email from Manafort spokesman, Jason Maloni.

Neither Manafort nor staffers with the Senate panel which conducted the interview publicly commented on the substance of the meeting.

Manafort’s closed-door session occurred hours before President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was interviewed by the House intelligence committee, but after a separate Senate committee, the Judiciary, issued a subpoena compelling him to testify.

Hours after the subpoena’s issue late Monday, Manafort struck a deal with the committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), to avoid a public hearing.  Following the agreement to testify behind closed doors, Manafort began to furnish documents sought by the panel.  The judiciary committee withdrew the subpoena Tuesday.

A date for his appearance has yet to be set; however, it is believed Manafort’s meeting with the judiciary panel revolves around past lobbying efforts, activity which was unregistered at the time, and influence peddling.

A veteran political operator, Manafort previously worked with the presidential campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, both Bushes and former Sen. Bob Dole.

Mr. Manafort’s business dealings have been the subject of intense scrutiny since his August 2016 resignation from the Trump campaign. The New York Times reported last week that financial records Manafort filed in Cyprus show he owed $17 million to Russian-related entities prior to joining the Trump campaign in 2016.

Manafort was once a political consultant in Ukraine for the pro-Kremlin Party of Regions and later founded the New York-based consulting firm, Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly.


[Reuters] [Roll Call] [Photo courtesy ABC News]