For­mer Trump cam­paign chair talks with Se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tors

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Chad Day and Mary Clare Jalonick

WASH­ING­TON» Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer cam­paign chair­man met with Se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tors Tues­day, pro­vid­ing his rec­ol­lec­tion of a Trump Tower meet­ing with a Rus­sian lawyer and agree­ing to turn over con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous notes of the gath­er­ing last year, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the closed-door in­ter­view.

The ap­pear­ance by Paul Manafort came the same morn­ing that Trump’s sonin-law, Jared Kush­ner, re­turned to Capi­tol Hill for a sec­ond day of pri­vate meet­ings, this time for a con­ver­sa­tion with law­mak­ers on the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee.

Manafort and Kush­ner have been co­op­er­at­ing with the com­mit­tees which, along with Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller, are prob­ing Rus­sia’s in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and pos­si­ble col­lu­sion with Trump as­so­ciates.

The two men have faced par­tic­u­lar scru­tiny about at­tend­ing the Trump Tower meet­ing be­cause it was de­scribed in emails to Don­ald Trump Jr. as be­ing part of a Rus­sian gov­ern­ment ef­fort to aid Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

On Tues­day, Manafort met with bi­par­ti­san staffers of the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee and “an­swered their ques­tions fully,” his spokesman, Ja­son Maloni, said.

Manafort’s dis­cus­sion with the com­mit­tee staff was lim­ited to his rec­ol­lec­tion of the June 2016 meet­ing, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the in­ter­view. Both de­manded anonymity to dis­cuss de­tails be­cause the in­ter­view oc­curred be­hind closed doors.

Manafort pre­vi­ously dis­closed the meet­ing in doc­u­ments he turned over to the com­mit­tee. He has now pro­vided the com­mit­tee with notes he took at the time, one of the peo­ple said. The other per­son said Manafort has also said he will par­tic­i­pate in ad­di­tional in­ter­views with the Se­nate in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee staff on other top­ics if nec­es­sary.

Those meet­ings haven’t been sched­uled.

Also Tues­day, Kush­ner spent about three hours be­hind closed doors with the House com­mit­tee.

Repub­li­can Rep. Mike Con­away of Texas, who is lead­ing the panel’s Rus­sia probe, said he found Kush­ner to be “straight­for­ward, forth­com­ing, wanted to an­swer ev­ery ques­tion we had.” He said Kush­ner was will­ing to fol­low up with the com­mit­tee if it has ad­di­tional ques­tions.

The com­mit­tee’s rank­ing Demo­crat, Rep. Adam Schiff of Cal­i­for­nia, said the ques­tions touched on “a range of is­sues the com­mit­tee had been con­cerned about.”

“We ap­pre­ci­ate his vol­un­tary will­ing­ness to come and tes­tify to­day,” Schiff added.

On Mon­day, Kush­ner an­swered ques­tions from the staff on the Se­nate’s in­tel­li­gence panel, ac­knowl­edg­ing four meet­ings with Rus­sians dur­ing and af­ter Trump’s vic­to­ri­ous White House bid and in­sist­ing he had “noth­ing to hide.”

In an 11-page state­ment, he ac­knowl­edged his Rus­sian con­tacts dur­ing the cam­paign and im­me­di­ately af­ter the elec­tion, in which he served as a li­ai­son be­tween the tran­si­tion and for­eign gov­ern­ments.

Emails re­leased this month show that Trump Jr., the pres­i­dent’s el­dest son, ac­cepted a June 2016 meet­ing with a Rus­sian lawyer Natalia Ve­sel­nit­skaya with the un­der­stand­ing that he would re­ceive dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion on Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton as part of a Rus­sian gov­ern­ment ef­fort to help Trump’s cam­paign. But, in his state­ment for the two in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tees, Kush­ner said he hadn’t read those emails un­til re­cently shown them by his lawyers.

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