Deal with Senate panel lets Trump Jr., Manafort avoid public testimony

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A U.S. Senate panel has agreed to let President Trump’s eldest son and his former campaign manager testify behind closed doors next week in connection with its probe into possible Trump administration ties to Russia.

Both Donald Trump Jr. and former campaign manager Paul Manafort confirmed the deal reached with the Senate Judiciary Committee, ABC News reported.

The agreement allows both Trump Jr. and Manafort to avoid public testimony when the committee conducts a hearing next week on Capitol Hill.

The Trump administration has denied any wrongdoing in connection with Russia.

A statement from the office of committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the deal means the panel no longer needs to subpoena Trump Jr. and Manafort to appear before them.

“Both Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, through their attorneys, have agreed to negotiate to provide the committee with documents and be interviewed by committee members and staff prior to a public hearing,” the statement said. “Therefore, we will not issue subpoenas for them tonight requiring their presence at Wednesday’s [July 26] hearing but reserve the right to do so in the future.”

Committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., tweeted Friday afternoon, “The Judiciary Committee will talk to Trump Jr. & Manafort before they testify in public, but we will get answers.”

Both Trump Jr. and Manafort have come under scrutiny following revelations that they attended a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney and at least five other people.

According to emails released by Trump Jr., the prospect of potentially damaging information about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was touted as a reason for the meaning. But Trump Jr. later said the focus of the meeting turned to Russian adoptions.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, who also attended the meeting in Trump Tower, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday and the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, in connection with their Russia probes.

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