The spotlight on Trump-Russia connections has never been brighter.
The day after White House adviser Jared Kushner testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, another Trump campaign official who attended the June 9, 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who promised to provide them with incriminating information about Hillary Clinton has been subpoenaed to testify before Congress..
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) issued the subpoena after the committee was unable to reach an agreement regarding Manafort’s “accommodation.” Manafort was only willing to provide a single transcribed interview to Congress, which would not be made available to the Judiciary Committee.
🚨 Judiciary Committee Issues Subpoena for Paul Manafort
Until recently, Republicans in Congress have been fairly accommodating of the Trump administration. Republicans in the House have repeatedly blocked motions in Congress when it favors the president, like investigating Jared Kushner’s security clearance, for example. Calling on Kushner to testify and subpoenaing Manafort shows Congress is starting to hold the president accountable.
Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, is just one of several Trump campaign associates being questioned as part of this investigation. During his time on the Trump team, he repeatedly denied having any connections with the Russian government, calling any links to him and Putin “crazy.”
Those links to the Russian government were exactly what ultimately did Manafort in, however. In the days leading up to his exit from the campaign, The New York Times reported a pro-Russian Ukranian political party had earmarked cash payments of about $5.7 million to Manafort. The Associated Press reported Manafort made $17 million dollars working on behalf of the Ukranian government for a Washington-based lobbying group. Neither Manafort, nor the lobbying groups he worked with registered with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent. Although, Manafort finally did ultimately register as a foreign agent nearly a year after he left the campaign. Manafort was the second Trump campaign official to retroactively disclose foreign lobbying after Michael Flynn.
The same month Manafort left the campaign, Trump adviser Roger Stone was exchanging direct messages via Twitter with Guccifer 2.0, an account identified by the intelligence agencies as a front for Russian hackers. Manafort and Stone have a storied relationship that has lasted decades. Together they were partners at Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, a lobbying firm that existed until 1996.
The Associated Press revealed in March Manafort had “secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics.” Last month, The New York Times reported Manafort had $17 million dollars worth of debt to pro-Russian interests prior to joining the Trump campaign, according to Cyprus bank records.
In response to the damaging reports on Manafort, the White House’s only response has been to distance themselves from the man who once run the president’s campaign. At a White House press briefing in March, former press secretary Sean Spicer said of Manafort’s role: “he played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.”
Trump’s former campaign manager has just been subpoenaed was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.