Will Paul Manafort Still Testify? The Senate Judiciary Committee Dropped Their Subpoena
On the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort for testimony, the committee later dropped its request. Manafort had been subpoenaed as part of the Senate's investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia, and he was expected to appear before the committee on Wednesday. With the subpoena dropped, though, it's unlikely that Manafort will still testify in front of the Senate under oath.
According to CNN, Manafort will not be compelled to testify on Wednesday as planned, but he will still continue working with the committee on its investigation. It's likely that Manafort's pledge to continue cooperating convinced the committee to drop its subpoena. According to Politico, the subpoena was dropped after Manafort agreed to meet with committee investigators.
On Tuesday, Manafort reportedly met with a different group of congressional investigators. CNN reported that Manafort met behind closed doors with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Intelligence Committee hosted former FBI Director James Comey for testimony back in June. Comey also spoke to the committee about the alleged connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential connection. As a one-time campaign manager for Trump, Manafort's testimony would have likely provided a different side of the story than Comey's.
After Manafort's meeting with the Intelligence Committee, his spokesperson said that Manafort had "answered their questions fully." "Paul Manafort met this morning, by previous agreement, with the bipartisan staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee and answered their questions fully," Jason Maloni reportedly said in a statement. CNN also reported that Manafort had handed over documents to the committee.
Manafort isn't expected to testify on Wednesday. According to the New York Times, his appearance was "canceled." Like his meeting on Tuesday with the Intelligence Committee, Manafort will be interviewed by the Judiciary Committee at a later date.
The various investigations into the 2016 presidential election have gone on for months. Most recently, investigators have focused on an alleged meeting attended by Donald Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort, and Russian contacts. Kushner spoke with investigators about the meeting earlier this week, and Manafort was expected to discuss the same meeting with the Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
Without an under-oath testimony, though, it could be difficult for the public to know what Manafort had to say about the meeting in question. For his part, Kushner said in a statement that he quickly realized his time in the meeting "was not well-spent," and he asked an assistant to help him get out of it. Trump, Jr. said in a statement earlier this month that he told Manafort and Kushner "nothing of the substance" prior to the meeting. Ultimately, many of the statements surrounding the controversial meeting have seemed contradictory, which could make the work of congressional investigators more difficult.