A congressional committee examining whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia on Tuesday evening withdrew its subpoena to compel Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, to testify.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s withdrawl of the subpoena means Manafort won’t be compelled to testify on Wednesday. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the subpoena was canceled after Manafort agreed to turn over documents and continue speaking with investigators. He may testify at a later date, they said.
Earlier in the day, Grassley and Feinstein said in a statement that they “were unable to reach an agreement” with Manafort and his lawyer, and issued the subpoena.
“While we were willing to accommodate Mr. Manafort’s request to cooperate with the committee’s investigation without appearing at Wednesday’s hearing, we were unable to reach an agreement for a voluntary transcribed interview with the Judiciary Committee,” they wrote.
Mr. Manafort, through his attorney, said that he would be willing to provide only a single transcribed interview to Congress, which would not be available to the Judiciary Committee members or staff. While the Judiciary Committee was willing to cooperate on equal terms with any other committee to accommodate Mr. Manafort’s request, ultimately that was not possible. Therefore, yesterday evening, a subpoena was issued to compel Mr. Manafort’s participation in Wednesday’s hearing. As with other witnesses, we may be willing to excuse him from Wednesday’s hearing if he would be willing to agree to production of documents and a transcribed interview, with the understanding that the interview would not constitute a waiver of his rights or prejudice the committee’s right to compel his testimony in the future.
Manafort was invited to testify in a scheduled hearing Wednesday, but he declined.
In June 2016, Manafort was one of a number of Trump associates to attend a meeting with a Russian lawyer in New York City’s Trump Tower. That meeting has become the subject of intense interest in recent days. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., attended the meeting after being promised information that would “incriminate” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. was also told it was part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner was also in the room.
On Tuesday, Manafort met privately with staffers on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. A spokesman for Manafort told several news outlets that he “answered their questions fully.”
One day earlier, Kushner had a similar meeting with the committee staff, in which he affirmed that “I did not collude.” Kushner also faced questioning Tuesday morning from the House Intelligence Committee.
Manafort is meanwhile also under scrutiny for retroactively registering as a foreign agent.
This article has been updated to note that the subpoena was withdrawn.