The Daily Telegraph

Committee will grill former Trump aide on Kremlin links

- By Nick Allen in Washington

PAUL MANAFORT, the former chairman of Donald Trump’s presidenti­al campaign, has volunteere­d to appear before the committee investigat­ing alleged interferen­ce by the Kremlin in last year’s US election.

Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of Congress’s intelligen­ce committee, said Mr Manafort’s lawyer had contacted them to offer to appear.

It has not been decided whether the interview will be behind closed doors, but it could be as early as next week.

Mr Manafort was one of a handful of people connected to the Trump campaign who have faced speculatio­n over contacts with Russia, and Mr Nunes urged others to come forward.

This week the Associated Press reported that a decade ago Mr Manafort worked for Russian billionair­e Oleg Deripaska and wrote a proposal benefiting the government in Moscow.

Mr Manafort said he did work for Mr Deripaska, but categorica­lly denied ever working for the Russian government or “representi­ng Russian political interests”. He said he was a victim of “smear and innuendo”.

Mr Nunes said: “The counsel for Paul Manafort contacted the committee yesterday to offer the committee the opportunit­y to interview his client.

“We thank Mr Manafort for volunteeri­ng and encourage others to talk voluntaril­y with the committee.”

He added: “The important thing is that people come in freely. We are not going to get into a neo-McCarthyis­m era here. If people want to come in freely we will do that.”

Mr Nunes said James Comey, director of the FBI, and Adml Mike Rogers, director of the national security agency, who both appeared recently before the committee in public, would do so again next week behind closed doors.

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