Trump Jr., Manafort slated to testify before Senate panel

Trump Jr., Manafort slated to testify before Senate panel
© Greg Nash

Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort are slated to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a public hearing next Wednesday, the committee announced.

The hearing, which had previously been postponed, is purportedly to conduct oversight of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and "attempts to influence U.S. elections."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'Haven't thought about' pardons for Mueller target Pence: Rocket attack 'proves that Hamas is not a partner for peace' Conservation remains a core conservative principle MORE's eldest son, who is not part of the administration, has been under fierce scrutiny for attending a June 2016 meeting with a woman presented as a Russian government lawyer offering damaging information on Democratic presidential rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: McCain 'acted appropriately' by handing Steele dossier to FBI Why Mueller's hedge on obstruction decision was a mistake Giuliani says news media treat Dems better than GOP MORE

The meeting has become a flashpoint in the roiling controversy over the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

Further inflaming the drama, Jared Kusher, the president's son-in-law who now also serves as a White House adviser, will reportedly testify behind closed doors in the Senate Intelligence Committee two days earlier, according to ABC News. Kushner was also present at the Trump Tower meeting. 

The Russian lawyer, as well as a Russian-American lobbyist in the room, were at the time working to lift sanctions imposed on Moscow over human rights violations.

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The White House has offered conflicting explanations of the intended purpose of the June 2016 meeting. Press secretary Sean Spicer has said that there is nothing to show that the meeting was not about U.S. adoptions of Russian children, banned by Moscow in 2012 in retaliation for the human rights sanctions.

Democrats say that Trump Jr.’s willingness to accept opposition research portrayed as part of Russia's support for the president shows a clear intent to collude with the Russian government. The president has fiercely defended his son, insisting that the meeting was mere “politics.”

“Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That's politics!” the president tweeted Monday.

Eight attendees at the meeting have been publicly identified, including Kushner, Trump Jr. and Manafort; the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and her translator, Anatoli Samochornov; Ike Kaveladze, an American-based representative of a Russian real estate firm; Rob Goldstone, an intermediary who set up the meeting; and Rinat Akhmetshin, the Russian-American lobbyist.

In emails released by Trump Jr. last week, Goldstone offered to set up a meeting between the president’s eldest son and a “Russian government lawyer” offering information that “would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump,” wrote Goldstone.

“If it what’s you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. responded.

The announcement Wednesday puts an end to some jurisdictional jockeying between the Judiciary and Intelligence panels, both of which had pushed to get Trump Jr. before their committee. 

Updated: 6:49 p.m.