If former FBI director James Comey garnered attention in June when he testified before a Senate subcommittee panel about the shady circumstances surrounding his firing, imagine the media blitz bound to swirl on Wednesday, July 26.
That is the day Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort are scheduled to testify publicly before a Senate Judiciary Committee titled “Oversight of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and Attempts to Influence US Elections: Lessons Learned from Current and Prior Administrations” about their involvement in possible collusion with Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential cycle.
Their testimony comes less than two weeks after it was revealed President Donald Trump’s eldest son, former campaign manager, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, met with Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last June to receive damaging information on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in exchange for the promise of President Trump’s easing Russian sanctions if elected.
Kushner is expected to testify in a closed session before the Senate intelligence committee on July 24.
British music publicist Rob Goldstone set up the Trump Tower meeting between the Russian attorney and Trump in what is being regarded as the first “clear evidence” of senior Trump campaign members colluding with Russia to influence the campaign.
In an email thread between Trump Jr. and Goldstone, the president’s son was told:
“The crown prosecutor of Russia … offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump.[sic]”
Trump Jr. replied:
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
Trump Jr. forwarded the email thread to his brother-in-law Kushner and Paul Manafort. Kushner, a White House official with privileged security clearance, did not disclose the meeting on security clearance forms as required, until recently.
Democrat Brian Schatz of Hawaii told the Guardian last week that as a result, Kushner probably needs to lose his clearance.
Paul Manafort has been under scrutiny for some time for his ties to Russia. A veteran Republican operative, he has extensive experience working in Russia, and served as an aide to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. He filed recently as a foreign agent in exchange for $17 million in consulting fees for advising Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party from 2012 to 2014.
Glenn Simpson, head of research for Fusion GPS, responsible for producing the Steele dossier on Trump’s contacts with Russia, will also testify, as will Bill Browder, an investor vocal in pushing for increased sanctions on Russia.
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