US Senate committee issues subpoena to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort as part of Russia probe

A US Senate panel has issued a subpoena to force Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager to President Donald Trump, to appear at a hearing on Wednesday as part of its probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election.
Paul Manafort, advisor to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign, at the Mayflower Hotel Aprilin Washington, DC on  April 27, 2016.
Paul Manafort, advisor to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign, at the Mayflower Hotel Aprilin Washington, DC on April 27, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - A Senate panel said Tuesday (July 25) that it issued a subpoena to President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to compel his testimony in an ongoing investigation to determine whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee said they tried to negotiate with Manafort about his testimony, but weren’t able to reach an agreement.

“Mr Manafort, through his attorney, said that he would be willing to provide only a single transcribed interview to Congress, which would not be available to the Judiciary Committee members or staff,” panel Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat, said in a joint statement.

“While the Judiciary Committee was willing to cooperate on equal terms with any other committee to accommodate Mr. Manafort’s request, ultimately that was not possible.”

Manafort will speak with Senate investigators on Capitol Hill within the next 48 hours, NBC News reported on Tuesday, citing a source close to Manafort.

The committee had invited Manafort to appear at a public hearing Wednesday to discuss his lobbying activities on behalf of foreign entities, along with Donald Trump Jr. The panel’s leaders issued the subpoena to Manafort late Monday.  Trump and members of his inner circles have repeatedly denied colluding with Russia during the presidential election campaign.  

“As with other witnesses, we may be willing to excuse him from Wednesday’s hearing if he would be willing to agree to production of documents and a transcribed interview, with the understanding that the interview would not constitute a waiver of his rights or prejudice the committee’s right to compel his testimony in the future,” Grassley and Feinstein said.

The questions are expected to focus on a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York attended by Manafort, a Russian lawyer, a Russian-American lobbyist, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and son Donald Trump Jr., NBC News reported.