Trump Jr., Manafort reach deal to avoid public hearing next week
Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have reached a deal with the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid appearing at a public hearing next week, lawmakers announced Friday.
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement that they would not immediately subpoena President Trump’s eldest son or his former campaign chairman to testify at the Wednesday hearing.
“Both Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, through their attorneys, have agreed to negotiate to provide the committee with documents and be interviewed by committee members and staff prior to a public hearing,” the lawmakers said.
Feinstein and Grassley, the panel’s top two lawmakers, left the door open to subpoenaing either of the men in the future if they stopped cooperating.
“We will not issue subpoenas for them tonight requiring their presence at Wednesday’s hearing but reserve the right to do so in the future,” they said.
And Grassley signaled separately on Friday evening that he expects both former Trump campaign figures to publicly appear before his committee eventually.
“Trump Jr and Manafort are cooperating w my committee and will give documents and answer Qs for staff and members But also will appear openly,” Grassley tweeted.
Asked about the tweet, a spokesman for Grassley said that the Republican meant the two would testify publicly at some point in the future but not specifically next week.
The aide added while it was ultimately up to Trump Jr. and Manafort, they did not expect either of them to testify publicly at Wednesday’s hearing.
“Given that they are negotiating attending staff/member interviews instead, I don’t expect them to attend on Wednesday,” the spokesman said.
Manafort and Trump Jr. had been listed as witnesses for the Judiciary Committee’s public hearing Wednesday, which was scheduled to provide oversight of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and “attempts to influence U.S. elections.”
Under committee rules, the committee can subpoena individuals by a vote of the full committee or when Grassley and Feinstein have an agreement.
Lawmakers have been clamoring to hear from Trump Jr. over his recently revealed meeting last year with a woman presented as being a Russian government lawyer who had damaging information on Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
Manafort and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, were also in the meeting. Kushner is expected to meet with both the Senate and House intelligence committees early next week.
Each of the panels is investigating Russia’s election interference and any potential contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow.