Judiciary committee to pull Manafort subpoena


A U.S. Senate panel has rescinded a subpoena that would have forced Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager of President Donald Trump, to appear at a hearing on Wednesday as part of its probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election.

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, and the top Democrat on the panel, Dianne Feinstein, said the subpoena was issued late on Monday after Manafort did not agree to an interview.

Mr Manafort's discussion with committee staff was limited to his recollection of the June 2016 meeting, according to two people familiar with the interview. The meeting marked the second day of interviews for Kushner, who on Tuesday met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Both Manafort and Kushner have faced scrutiny about attending a June 2016 meeting with Russian officials at the Trump Tower in NY because it was described in e-mails to the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., as part of a Russian government effort to aid Trump's presidential campaign.

The meeting, which happened behind closed doors, focused on Manafort's recollection of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, according to Politico.

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The pair met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya with the understanding that she would provide damaging information related to Russian support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Kushner on Monday confirmed earlier media reports that he had suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities to set up secure communications between Trump adviser Michael Flynn, who would become national security adviser, and Russian officials.

Grassley noted that the number of people who registered as foreign agents has dropped significantly in recent years so that only 400 are now on the Justice Department's rolls.

Manafort led the Trump campaign for several months before being forced to resign in August 2016.

Manafort was invited to testify in a scheduled hearing Wednesday, but he declined. USA intelligence agencies say Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election to benefit Trump.

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"Let me very clear: I did not collude with Russian Federation nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so", Kushner told reporters Monday following his Senate testimony.

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The president also has denied knowing about the meeting until recently.

His talks with US lawmakers involved a closed-door conversation with members of the House Intelligence Committee.

Republican congressman Mike Conaway of Texas, leading the panel's Russian Federation probe, said he found Mr Kushner to be "straightforward, forthcoming, wanted to answer every question we had". Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, who is leading the committee's Russian Federation probe, said he found Kushner to be "straightforward, forthcoming, wanted to answer every question we had". He is the first top Trump lieutenant to be quizzed by the congressional investigators probing Russia's interference in the election.

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