Trump aides and son to testify in Senate
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