The leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee have cut a deal with President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort to avoid being subpoenaed for a high-profile public hearing next week, with the two men agreeing to provide records to the panel and to be privately interviewed ahead of any public session.
In a joint statement, panel Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein said, “(W)e will not issue subpoenas for them tonight requiring their presence at Wednesday’s hearing but reserve the right to do so in the future.”
Feinstein tweeted later Friday evening, “The Judiciary Committee will talk to Trump Jr. & Manafort before they testify in public, but we will get answers.”
Last week, Trump Jr. told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he would testify under oath about his recently revealed 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians, where he attempted to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.
But after the Senate Judiciary Committee invited him to attend a public hearing, the President’s eldest struck the agreement to avoid it, instead going behind closed doors.
Sources familiar with the matter say no date has been set for his and Manafort’s private interviews with the committee.
A source familiar with the committee’s thinking says there was incentive among the committee to make the agreement with Manafort and Trump Jr. because there was a recognition that they were unlikely to appear in a public session.
But the threat of trying to force them to appear publicly and to issue a subpoena was enough to get agreement from the two to provide records and to interview them quicker than they otherwise would have liked, a source familiar with the discussion says.
The threat of subpoenas for the two is still very real, two sources familiar with the committee’s thinking say.
The committee has issued a subpoena for Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the political firm that compiled a dossier of unverified information compiled for Trump’s political opponents.
Attorneys for Simpson say he will not accept the committee’s invitation to testify Wednesday.
Grassley and Feinstein said in their statement: “Glenn Simpson, through his attorney, has declined to voluntarily attend Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing regarding compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Therefore, a subpoena has been issued to compel his attendance. Simpson’s attorney has asserted that his client will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to the subpoena.”
The subpoena was served by email Friday afternoon.
Also on Friday, the House intelligence committee announced it will interview Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on Tuesday as part of its probe into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. Kushner is being interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday.