There are some new developments this Friday in the ongoing fallout over a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Although Manafort and Trump Jr. had previously been slated to testify publicly next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, they apparently aren’t going to be doing so after all.
CNN reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee has “cut a deal” with Trump Jr. and Manafort, “with the two men agreeing to provide records to the panel and to be privately interviewed ahead of any public session.” Next Wednesday’s hearing that the two of them had previously been scheduled to attend was recently postponed for a week in order to compensate for the recent revelation that Trump Jr. and others met with Veselnitskaya.
The “deal” that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein struck with Trump Jr. and Manafort does not rule out the possibility of the two of them appearing in public to testify at some point in the future.
Grassley posted a statement to Twitter to this effect, reading:
‘Trump Jr and Manafort are cooperating w my committee and will give documents and answer Qs for staff and members But also will appear openly.’
Trump Jr and Manafort are cooperating w my committee and will give documents and answer Qs for staff and members But also will appear openly
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 21, 2017
His tweet is explained further by a joint statement that he issued with Senator Feinstein, which reads, in part:
‘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. Therefore, we will not issue subpoenas for them tonight requiring their presence at Wednesday’s hearing but reserve the right to do so in the future.’
Trump Jr. and Manafort have both wavered between making a show of wanting to be open to all investigative efforts and effectively declaring, as Trump has done, that the whole thing is nothing more than a witch hunt. It took days of successively more detailed news reports for Trump Jr. to even admit that no, he and Veselnitskaya weren’t just talking about “adoption” at their 2016 meeting.
For now, Trump Jr. and Manafort will be getting to avoid the public scrutiny associated with publicly testifying. Jared Kushner, who, as mentioned, also participated in the 2016 meeting in question, already managed to weasel out of being held publicly accountable for his actions. He will, instead of appearing publicly, be interviewed privately by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday. He will also be privately interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
Check out Twitter’s reaction to the news that Manafort and Kushner are getting out of testifying publicly below.
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