Trump aides and son to tes­tify in Sen­ate

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - International Business -

PRES­I­DENT Don­ald Trump’s el­dest son and a former cam­paign man­ager will tes­tify be­fore Congress next week as part of US in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the Trump team’s al­leged con­tacts with Rus­sia, a Sen­ate panel an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

Don­ald Trump Jr and Paul Manafort are sched­uled to tes­tify in an open hear­ing be­fore the Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee next Wed­nes­day.

Both men at­tended a con­tro­ver­sial meet­ing with a Rus­sian lawyer last year in which they were ex­pect­ing to re­ceive dirt from Moscow on Don­ald Trump’s 2016 elec­tion ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Adding to the po­lit­i­cal drama in Wash­ing­ton next week, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kush­ner will tes­tify be­fore the Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee on Mon­day, al­beit in a closed­door ses­sion, CNN re­ported, cit­ing Kush­ner’s lawyer.

Kush­ner, who Trump’s daughter Ivanka, also at­tended the June 2016 meet­ing with the Rus­sian lawyer, Natalia Ve­sel­nit­skaya.

Trump Jr sent shock­waves through Wash­ing­ton when he con­firmed the meet­ing by re­leas­ing a se­ries of emails in which the now­pres­i­dent’s son was told the cam­paign could get “very high level and sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion” that was “part of Rus­sia and its gov­ern­ment’s sup­port for Mr. Trump.”

Mean­while, the White House and Krem­lin on Wed­nes­day played down the sig­nif­i­cance of an ad­di­tional, pre­vi­ously undis­closed meet­ing be­tween pres­i­dents Trump and Vladimir Putin dur­ing this month’s G20 sum­mit.

The two pow­ers united in their con­dem­na­tion of re­ports ques­tion­ing why the meet­ing was not dis­closed.

“Once again, the Rus­sia fever has caught up with the me­dia and everybody ran out and tried to cre­ate a story that sim­ply didn’t ex­ist,” said White House spokes­woman Sarah San­ders.

That mes­sage was echoed by her Krem­lin coun­ter­part Dmitry Peskov.

“The use of the terms ‘se­cret’ or ‘con­fi­den­tial’ for this meet­ing pro­vokes ab­so­lute sur­prise and in­com­pre­hen­sion.”

The meet­ing had been “of­fi­cially ac­cepted” by diplo­matic chan­nels, he added in com­ments re­ported by the Rus­sia’s TASS news agency.

“There was no se­cret and con­fi­den­tial meet­ing,” he said. “To say so is ab­so­lutely ab­surd.”

Af­ter a brief greet­ing at the start of the two-day sum­mit and a twohour bi­lat­eral meet­ing with their for­eign min­is­ters on July 7, Trump and Putin also chat­ted over din­ner on the fi­nal night of the sum­mit, a US of­fi­cial said Tues­day.

The White House con­firmed the po­lit­i­cal sen­si­tive sit-down only af­ter it was leaked.

That raised ques­tions about what the pair talked about, who was present and why the meet­ing was not

At the din­ner in Ham­burg, Trump was seated be­tween the wife of the prime Min­is­ter of Ja­pan the wife of the pres­i­dent of Ar­gentina.

US First Lady Me­la­nia Trump was seated next to Pres­i­dent Putin.”

Ac­cord­ing to a US of­fi­cial “dur­ing the course of the din­ner, all the lead­ers cir­cu­lated through­out the room and spoke with one another freely.”

“Pres­i­dent Trump spoke with many lead­ers dur­ing the course of the evening. As the din­ner was con­clud­ing, Pres­i­dent Trump went over to Mrs Trump, where he spoke briefly with Pres­i­dent Putin.”

San­ders de­nied re­ports that the sit-down lasted an hour, de­scrib­ing it as “brief.”

“We weren’t fol­low­ing him around with a stop­watch,” but “cer­tainly not an hour,” she said. – AFP

Jared Kush­ner. Pho­tos: AFP

Don­ald Trump Jr. Paul Manafort.

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