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Trump Jr, Kushner, Manafort to face congress grilling next week

The three men are the closest associates of the president to be called to speak to lawmakers involved in probing Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

world Updated: Jul 20, 2017 21:00 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Russia investigations,Donald Trump Jr,Jared Kushner
A combination photo of Donald Trump Jr from July 11, 2017 and Jared Kushner from June 6, 2017.(Reuters)

US President Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr, son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and former campaign aide Paul Manafort are expected to appear before senate committees next week in connection with investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 polls.

Kushner will appear before the senate intelligence committee in a closed-door meeting on July 24, his lawyer confirmed, saying his client “has been and is prepared to voluntarily cooperate and provide whatever information he has on the investigations to congress”.

Trump Jr and Manafort have been invited to testify at an open hearing by the senate judiciary committee two days later. Neither of them confirmed their appearance, though they have said in the past they were willing to testify and cooperate with the investigations.

The committee’s Republican and Democratic leaders Chuck Grassley and Diane Feinstein have said they were prepared “to issue subpoenas, if necessary” to force them to appear if they didn’t comply voluntarily.

Taken together, these appearances will be the first time that members of Trump’s inner circle will be deposing before congress in connection with the Russia probe, which the president has repeatedly dismissed as a “witch hunt”.

The three are expected to be asked about their contacts with Russians during and after the campaign, especially Trump Jr’s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow’s larger effort to ensure his father’s victory.

Kushner and Manafort had also attended that meeting. Others present at the meeting included Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin — who once worked in Soviet military intelligence — and Russian real estate executive Ike Kaveladze, who was once investigated by congress in connection with money laundering.

Kushner might also face questions about his 2016 meetings with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak and a banker considered close to President Vladimir Putin. He may also be asked about his request to the Russians for a secret back-channel communication system based in a Russian facility in the US to evade American intelligence monitoring.

First Published: Jul 20, 2017 09:07 IST