Donald Trump ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort not testifying on Wednesday

A Senate committee investigating alleged Russian interference in last year's US elections said it had subpoenaed President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort to testify in person.
A Senate committee investigating alleged Russian interference in last year's US elections said it had subpoenaed President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort to testify in person.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A Senate committee investigating Russian election interference has withdrawn its subpoena compelling United States President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort to testify, saying he has begun cooperating.

Mr Manafort and Mr Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner are at the centre of probes about a closely scrutinised meeting they and other campaign officials had with a Russian lawyer last year.

Mr Manafort had been served a subpoena to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday (July 26), but plans changed and the subpoena was retracted when he agreed to meet committee investigators behind closed doors, Politico reported.

The panel said Mr Manafort had "committed to negotiating in good faith" a time when he would be interviewed by the committee.

The former Trump aide had tried to avoid a hearing in favour of a private transcribed interview submitted to one of the multiple congressional investigations into the alleged Russian interference.

"It's important that he and other witnesses continue to work with this committee as it fulfils its oversight responsibility," Republican committee chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking Democratic member Dianne Feinstein said in a joint statement.

"As we've said before, we intend to get the answers that we need, one way or the other. Cooperation from witnesses is always the preferred route, but this agreement does not prejudice the committee's right to compel his testimony in the future."

Mr Manafort spoke to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Politico reported.

During last year's election campaign, Mr Manafort attended a meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who had promised the President's son Donald Trump Jr compromising material on Mrs Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate running against Mr Trump.

Mr Kushner, who is now a top aide to the President, also attended the June 2016 meeting and was interviewed on Monday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In a statement read out after the hearing, Mr Kushner insisted he had not colluded with Russia to tip the election in his father-in-law's favour.

Mr Kushner appeared again on Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee, one of a slew of bodies investigating the Russian meddling claims.