Law­mak­ers to ques­tion Trump cam­paign chair­man

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Chad Day and Eric Tucker

WASHINGTON» The scope of con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial con­test came into sharper fo­cus Wed­nes­day as law­mak­ers said they in­tended to ques­tion the for­mer chair­man of the Trump cam­paign and to de­ter­mine whether Rus­sian so­cial me­dia “trolls” were con­nected to Trump’s elec­tion ef­forts.

The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee plans to ques­tion for­mer cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort and will sub­poena him if nec­es­sary, ac­cord­ing to the panel’s Repub­li­can chair­man, Sen. Chuck Grass­ley of Iowa. He said he and the com­mit­tee’s top Democrat, Dianne Fe­in­stein of Cal­i­for­nia, have agreed to try to bring Manafort be­fore the panel for ques­tion­ing about the gov­ern­ment’s en­force­ment of a law re­quir­ing reg­is­tra­tion of for­eign lob­by­ists. Fe­in­stein’s of­fice con­firmed that they plan to ques­tion him.

Manafort also cer­tainly would be asked about his par­tic­i­pa­tion in a Trump Tower meet­ing last sum­mer with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s el­dest son and son-in-law, where the pur­pose was to hear po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Hil­lary Clin­ton from a Rus­sian lawyer.

Manafort dis­closed the meet­ing in a pack­age of in­for­ma­tion he pro­vided to the Se­nate and House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tees, who have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing po­ten­tial co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Rus­sia and the Trump cam­paign, as is Robert Mueller, the for­mer FBI di­rec­tor ap­pointed by the Jus­tice Depart­ment as the spe­cial coun­sel.

“Ob­vi­ously it would be ap­pro­pri­ate for any­body to get into any­thing that went on at that meet­ing, and he was at that meet­ing,” Grass­ley told Iowa re­porters.

A per­son close to Manafort said he hasn’t yet re­ceived a let­ter from the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee about a pos­si­ble in­ter­view.

A spokesman for Grass­ley said Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon that Grass­ley was work­ing with Mueller to en­sure that any plans to ques­tion Manafort don’t con­flict with any crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

If con­flicts do ex­ist, the spokesman said, the sen­a­tor will “work to find a way for the com­mit­tee to pro­ceed with its over­sight re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Sep­a­rately, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, said his panel wants to look at the use of Rus­sian so­cial me­dia “trolls” and whether they were con­nected to the Trump elec­tion cam­paign.

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