Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - KAROUN DEMIR­JIAN THE WASHINGTON POST In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Tom Ham­burger of The Washington Post and by Greg Far­rell and Chris­tian Berthelsen of Bloomberg News.

for three panel in­vi­tees.

WASHINGTON — The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee has preap­proved sub­poe­nas to force Paul Manafort, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer campaign man­ager, and the pres­i­dent’s son, Don­ald Trump Jr., to ap­pear be­fore the panel if they do not ac­cept by this evening an in­vi­ta­tion to ap­pear next week.

Com­mit­tee Chair­man Charles Grass­ley, R-Iowa, said Thurs­day that Manafort, Trump Jr., and a third in­vited wit­ness, Fu­sion GPS co-founder Glenn Simp­son, have un­til tonight to ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion to tes­tify in a pub­lic hear­ing sched­uled for Wed­nes­day. If they do not ac­cept, Grass­ley said, sub­poe­nas will be is­sued “al­most im­me­di­ately.”

“We’ve al­ready au­tho­rized” the or­ders, Grass­ley said, ex­plain­ing that Dianne Fe­in­stein, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, had also signed off on the or­ders in ad­vance. “She and I don’t have to take any ac­tion — it’s al­ready been taken.”

Lawyers for Manafort, Trump Jr. and Simp­son did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

But on Wed­nes­day night, a lawyer for Manafort in­di­cated that his client was still try­ing to de­ter­mine which con­gres­sional panel to ap­pear be­fore first. Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futer­fas, did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment about his client’s plans.

Grass­ley sched­uled the two se­nior Trump campaign sur­ro­gates to ap­pear be­fore the panel the same week as the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee plans to in­ter­view the pres­i­dent’s se­nior ad­viser and son-in-law Jared Kush­ner.

That in­ter­view is sched­uled for Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to Kush­ner’s lawyer — though on Thurs­day, Sen. Mark Warner, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, in­di­cated the com­mit­tee also was plan­ning on a sec­ond au­di­ence with Kush­ner.

The Mon­day meet­ing is “just a staff in­ter­view,” Warner said, in­di­cat­ing that he was not plan­ning to at­tend be­cause “I’m go­ing to see him at an­other time.” He did not spec­ify when.

Kush­ner, Manafort and Trump Jr. are all ex­pected to be queried about their in­ter­ac­tions with Rus­sian cit­i­zens, and specif­i­cally about their par­tic­i­pa­tion in a June 2016 meet­ing in Trump tower that was pitched to Trump Jr. as an op­por­tu­nity for a Krem­lin-con­nected lawyer to of­fer the Trump campaign dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Hil­lary Clin­ton.

There were eight in­di­vid­u­als present at the meet­ing, with the Rus­sian side be­ing rep­re­sented by Natalia Ve­sel­nit­skaya, a lawyer who had lob­bied against the hu­man-rights sanc­tions bill known as the Mag­nit­sky Act and its suc­ces­sor, the Global Mag­nit­sky Act; Ri­nat Akhmetshin, a Rus­sian-Amer­i­can lob­by­ist with ex­pe­ri­ence serv­ing in a Soviet mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence unit; Ike Kave­ladze, a U.S.-based em­ployee of a Rus­sian real es­tate com­pany who was once the sub­ject of a con­gres­sional in­quiry into money laun­der­ing; and a trans­la­tor. Mu­sic pro­ducer Rob Gold­stone, who had helped bro­ker the meet­ing, rounded out the crew of those present.

Grass­ley has not in­di­cated whether the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee plans to call all of the others who were in that meet­ing as wit­nesses. But he has sched­uled Manafort and Trump Jr.’s tes­ti­mony to oc­cur con­cur­rently with the tes­ti­mony of two other wit­nesses: Simp­son of Fu­sion GPS, and that of Wil­liam Browder, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Her­mitage Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, which em­ployed Sergei Mag­nit­sky, the Rus­sian af­ter whom the bills Ve­sel­nit­skaya has lob­bied against were named.

Browder filed a com­plaint last year that Grass­ley has seized upon in re­cent months, al­leg­ing that Fu­sion GPS acted as an un­reg­is­tered agent of the Rus­sian govern­ment. Fu­sion is a re­search firm that is be­hind an un­ver­i­fied dossier de­tail­ing un­sub­stan­ti­ated al­le­ga­tions re­gard­ing Trump’s ac­tiv­i­ties in Rus­sia. It once did re­search for the le­gal team rep­re­sent­ing the Rus­sian com­pany Preve­zon in a civil court case; Preve­zon is the com­pany for which Ve­sel­nit­skaya works.

Sep­a­rately, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the U.S. spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­gat­ing pos­si­ble ties be­tween the Trump campaign and Rus­sia last year said Thurs­day that the probe is look­ing into a broad range of trans­ac­tions in­volv­ing Trump’s busi­nesses as well as those of his as­so­ciates.

FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tors and others are look­ing at Rus­sian pur­chases of apart­ments in Trump build­ings, Trump’s in­volve­ment in a con­tro­ver­sial SoHo de­vel­op­ment in New York with Rus­sian as­so­ciates, the 2013 Miss Uni­verse pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida man­sion to a Rus­sian oli­garch in 2008, the per­son said.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion also has ab­sorbed a money-laun­der­ing probe of Manafort be­gun by fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors in New York.

John Dowd, one of Trump’s lawyers, said Thurs­day that he was un­aware of the in­quiry into Trump’s busi­nesses by the 2-month-old in­ves­ti­ga­tion and con­sid­ered it be­yond the scope of what Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller should be ex­am­in­ing.

“Those trans­ac­tions are in my view well be­yond the man­date of the Spe­cial coun­sel; are un­re­lated to the elec­tion of 2016 or any al­leged col­lu­sion be­tween the Trump campaign and Rus­sia and most im­por­tantly, are well be­yond any Statute of Lim­i­ta­tion im­posed by the United States Code,” he wrote in an email.

Trump told The New York Times on Wed­nes­day that it would be a “vi­o­la­tion” of Mueller’s for­mal autho­riza­tion if he looked into the pres­i­dent’s per­sonal fi­nances.


Trump Jr.

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