Senate judiciary panel will subpoena Manafort

By Karoun Demirjian | Washington Post

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat said Wednesday that staffers have agreed in principle to serve former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort with a subpoena to testify at a hearing in its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said committee leaders had decided to subpoena Manafort, according to her spokesman Tom Mentzer, who did not offer details about when Manafort might appear before the panel. The announcement comes just a day after Feinstein told reporters that she and the committee’s chairman, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, had struck a deal to subpoena records from Manafort. She added then that the committee would use its subpoena power to force Manafort to talk to the committee as well, if it became necessary.

Grassley spokesman Taylor Foy said Wednesday that while the committee had reached “several general agreements in principle this week,” many details were still being ironed out.

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, declined to comment, noting that Manafort has not yet received a subpoena from the committee.

Manafort has come under investigators’ scrutiny for his many personal and professional relationships with allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. As chairman of Trump’s campaign, he offered one such ally periodic updates on the election; he also came under fire for lobbying work he had done for a pro-Russian party from Ukraine without registering as a foreign agent.

Manafort’s lobbying activities have garnered special attention from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is also looking into lax enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act alongside its probe of Russian election meddling. But committee members have never gotten a chance to interview Manafort, in public or in private.

Grassley and Feinstein have issued a subpoena for Manafort’s testimony once before, when they sought to force him to testify at a July open hearing on the foreign agent law. Manafort was scheduled to appear alongside Donald Trump Jr. and the chief executive of Fusion GPS, the firm behind a dossier of salacious but unsubstantiated details of Trump’s alleged exploits in Russia – an appearance inspired by reports that Manafort and Trump, Jr. had participated in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer claiming to peddle information damaging to Hillary Clinton.

The panel leaders eventually elected to withdraw the subpoena in favor of negotiating with Manafort’s attorneys to arrange an interview.

Senate Intelligence Committee investigators spoke to Manafort behind closed doors that same week. But the next day, the FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid on Manafort’s home in Arlington, Virginia. Since then, several members of the Judiciary Committee have complained that Manafort has stopped responding to committee requests.

On Tuesday, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone confirmed to reporters that Manafort has been informed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will indict him, adding that neither he nor Manafort knows what charges Manafort might face.

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