Trump Jr., Manafort May Be Interviewed Privately by Senators - NECN
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Trump Jr., Manafort May Be Interviewed Privately by Senators

Both men face questions about attending a Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Trump Jr., Manafort May Be Interviewed Privately by Senators
    Getty Images
    Donald Trump Jr., left, and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, right.

    President Donald Trump's eldest son and his former campaign chairman won't be forced to testify publicly next week and are instead discussing being privately interviewed by a Senate committee investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, the panel said.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee initially called for Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort to appear at a public hearing Wednesday. But the top Republican and Democrat on the panel now say the men are negotiating the terms of their appearances, and lawmakers don't currently plan to issue subpoenas to compel their public testimony.

    In a joint statement, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also said they are negotiating with Trump Jr. and Manafort about possibly turning over documents. Grassley tweeted late Friday that Trump Jr.'s interview, while not public, will still be on the record. Feinstein and Grassley both said on Twitter that the two men will testify in public after private interviews, but they did not elaborate on when that might occur.

    Both men face questions about attending a Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 that was described to Trump Jr. in emails as part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign. Trump Jr. was told the lawyer had damaging information that could be used against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and top White House aide, also attended the meeting. He is scheduled to speak behind closed doors with the Senate intelligence committee Monday and with the House intelligence committee Tuesday.

    The revelation of the Trump Tower meeting renewed questions about the Trump campaign's possible connections with Russia and put some of Trump's inner circle at the forefront of ongoing federal and congressional probes.

    Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni declined to comment on the committee's announcement. Trump Jr. attorney Alan Futerfas did not respond to several attempts by The Associated Press to contact him this week, including calls and emails Friday.

    Also Friday, The Washington Post, citing anonymous U.S. officials, reported that the Russian ambassador to the U.S. has said he discussed election-related issues with Jeff Sessions, then a U.S. senator and foreign policy adviser to Trump, when the two men met during the 2016 presidential race.

    Trump responded to the report on Twitter on Saturday, complaining about "illegal leaks."

    "A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions," he tweeted. "These illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop!"

    President Trump Lays Out US Plans for Afghanistan

    [NATL] President Trump Lays Out US Plans for Afghanistan

    President Trump addressed members of the military and the country as he laid out his plans for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

    (Published Monday, Aug. 21, 2017)

    The Post had cited anonymous U.S. officials who described U.S. intelligence intercepts of Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's descriptions of his meetings with Sessions, who now serves as attorney general.

    Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions stands by his previous assertion that he never had conversations with Russian officials about any type of interference with the election.

    Word of the negotiations with Trump Jr. and Manafort comes as the president's legal team evaluates potential conflicts of interest among members of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Mueller's probe into Russia's election meddling also appears likely to include some of the Trump family's business ties.

    Attorney Jay Sekulow, a member of the president's external legal team, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the lawyers "will consistently evaluate the issue of conflicts and raise them in the appropriate venue."

    Two of the people with knowledge of that process say those efforts include probing the political affiliations of Mueller's investigators and their past work history. The people insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

    Trump himself has publicly challenged Mueller, declaring this week that the former FBI director would be crossing a line if he investigated the president's personal business ties.

    Chaos at Charlottesville City Council Meeting

    [NATL] Chaos at 1st Charlottesville City Council Meeting Since Violent Rally

    A protest erupted inside the Charlottesville city council chambers on Monday, Aug. 22, as councilors held their first meeting since the deadly rally over the city's Confederate statue on Aug. 12, 2017. The crowd screamed at councilors and eventually took over the meeting, which caused for police intervention.

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017)

    The White House push against the special counsel's probe and the attempts to put the focus on potential conflicts with Mueller's team may well be an effort to distract from snowballing federal and congressional investigations into possible election-year coordination between Trump's campaign and Russia. While Trump has assailed the probes as a partisan "witch hunt," the investigations have increasingly ensnared his family and close advisers.

    Since the 2016 Trump Tower meeting became public, Trump Jr. has faced tough questions from lawmakers about why he agreed to participate. He and his father have downplayed it as politics as usual, saying they believe most people would have taken the meeting to learn about damaging information on an opponent.

    Manafort had attracted scrutiny for months from congressional committees and Mueller. The Associated Press reported in June that Mueller's probe has incorporated a long-standing federal investigation into Manafort's financial dealings. That investigation is scrutinizing political consulting work he did for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and the country's former president, Viktor Yanukovych.

    Manafort has denied any wrongdoing related to his Ukrainian work, saying through a spokesman that it "was totally open and appropriate."

    Manafort also recently registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for parts of Ukrainian work that occurred in Washington. The filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act came retroactively, a tacit acknowledgement that he operated in Washington in violation of the federal transparency law.

    That law was scheduled to be the topic of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which he was called to appear.

    Steve Bannon Out as White House Chief Strategist

    [NATL] Steve Bannon Out as White House Chief Strategist

    Steve Bannon has departed the White House, where he was President Donald Trump’s chief strategist. His tenure lasted seven months. White House chief of staff John Kelly and Bannon mutually agreed that Friday would be Bannon’s last day, according to a statement from the press secretary that said they were “grateful for his service.”

    (Published Friday, Aug. 18, 2017)

    The committee also is looking at the work of Glenn Simpson, a political operative who was involved in the compilation of a dossier of unsubstantiated and sometimes salacious information about Trump and his associates and their interactions with Russians.

    Grassley and Feinstein said Friday that they have issued a subpoena for Simpson to appear before the committee next week.

    Trump has accused former FBI Director James Comey of having leaked classified information to the media. A close friend of Comey's has disputed that.

    Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

    President Donald Trump's eldest son and his former campaign chairman won't testify publicly next week and are instead discussing being privately interviewed by a Senate committee investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, the panel said.

    The committee initially called for Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort to appear publicly Wednesday. But the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee now say the men are negotiating the terms of their appearances, and lawmakers don't currently plan to issue subpoenas to force them to appear.

    Trump on Steve Bannon: 'We'll See What Happens'

    [NATL] Trump on Steve Bannon: 'We'll See What Happens'

    At an impromptu press conference Tuesday, President Trump answered questions about his confidence in top White House strategist Steve Bannon by saying "we'll see what happens." 

    (Published Friday, Aug. 18, 2017)

    In a joint statement, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also said they are negotiating with Trump Jr. and Manafort about possibly turning over documents.

    Both men face questions about attending a Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 that was described to Trump Jr. in emails as part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign. Trump Jr. was told the lawyer had damaging information that could be used against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and top White House aide, also attended the meeting. He is scheduled to speak behind closed doors with the Senate intelligence committee Monday and with the House intelligence committee Tuesday.

    The revelation of the Trump Tower meeting renewed questions about the Trump's campaign's possible connections with Russia and put some of Trump's inner circle at the forefront of ongoing federal and congressional probes.

    Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni declined to comment on the committee's announcement. Trump Jr. attorney Alan Futerfas did not respond to several attempts by The Associated Press to contact him this week, including calls and emails Friday.

    Also Friday, The Washington Post reported that the Russian ambassador to the U.S. has said he discussed election-related issues with Sen. Jeff Sessions when the two men met during the 2016 presidential race.

    Dems, GOP Condemn Trump for 'Both Sides' Blame Game

    [NATL] Dems, GOP Condemn Trump for 'Both Sides' Blame Game as Hundreds Mourn Charlottesville Victims

    Lawmakers and business leaders from both sides of the aisle are criticizing President Donald Trump's comments blaming "both sides" for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, with three dead and dozens more injured. This, as hundreds gathered to mourn at the University of Virginia Wednesday night.

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017)

    The Post cited anonymous U.S. officials who described U.S. intelligence intercepts of Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's descriptions of his meetings with Sessions, who was then a foreign policy adviser to Trump and now serves as attorney general.

    Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions stands by his previous assertion that he never had conversations with Russian officials about any type of interference with the election.

    Word of the negotiations with Trump Jr. and Manafort comes as the president's legal team evaluates potential conflicts of interest among members of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Mueller's probe into Russia's election meddling also appears likely to include some of the Trump family's business ties.

    Attorney Jay Sekulow, a member of the president's external legal team, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the lawyers "will consistently evaluate the issue of conflicts and raise them in the appropriate venue."

    Two of the people with knowledge of that process say those efforts include probing the political affiliations of Mueller's investigators and their past work history. The people insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

    Trump himself has publicly challenged Mueller, declaring this week that the former FBI director would be crossing a line if he investigated the president's personal business ties.

    Trump Says 'Fixing the Inner Cities' Is a Priority

    [NATL] Trump: 'We're Spending a Lot of Money on the Inner Cities'

    President Donald J. Trump told reporters on Tuesday that "fixing the inner cities" is a priority for his administration. 

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017)

    The White House push against the special counsel's probe and the attempts to put the focus on potential conflicts with Mueller's team may well be an effort to distract from snowballing federal and congressional investigations into possible election-year coordination between Trump's campaign and Russia. While Trump has assailed the probes as a partisan "witch hunt," the investigations have increasingly ensnared his family and close advisers.

    Since the 2016 Trump Tower meeting became public, Trump Jr. has faced tough questions from lawmakers about why he agreed to participate. He and his father have downplayed it as politics as usual, saying they believe most people would have taken the meeting to learn about damaging information on an opponent.

    Manafort had attracted scrutiny for months from congressional committees and Mueller. The Associated Press reported in June that Mueller's probe has incorporated a long-standing federal investigation into Manafort's financial dealings. That investigation is scrutinizing political consulting work he did for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and the country's former president, Viktor Yanukovych.

    Manafort has denied any wrongdoing related to his Ukrainian work, saying through a spokesman that it "was totally open and appropriate."

    Manafort also recently registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for parts of Ukrainian work that occurred in Washington. The filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act came retroactively, a tacit acknowledgement that he operated in Washington in violation of the federal transparency law.

    That law was scheduled to be the topic of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which he was called to appear.

    N. Korea Cools Down War Rhetoric With US

    [NATL] N. Korea Cools Down War Rhetoric With US

    North Korea is changing tack in the war of words with the United States, adopting a plan to pull back and observe after a stern warning on Monday from Defense Secretary James Mattis.

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017)

    The committee also is looking at the work of Glenn Simpson, a political operative who was involved in the compilation of a dossier of unsubstantiated and sometimes salacious information about Trump and his associates and their interactions with Russians.

    Grassley and Feinstein said Friday that they have issued a subpoena for Simpson to appear before the committee next week.

    Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.