Nunes: Manafort Agreed To House Intel Committee Interview On Russia Ties

Tom Williams/CQPHO

Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, has “voluntarily” offered to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russia’s interference in the election.

Making this announcement Friday, committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said he would not require Manafort to testify publicly, but would allow him to do so if he so chose.

“We have to work that out really with Mr. Manafort’s legal counsel,” Nunes told reporters. “We will allow people to come forward in whatever manner that they want to come forward, we’ll work with them, especially if they’re willing to come in freely.”

According to Nunes, Manafort’s offer to come in to interview with the committee was unrelated to Nunes’ claim earlier this week that the U.S. intelligence community “incidentally”collected information about Trump and members of his transition team in the months after the election.

Manafort’s name did not appear in the intelligence community documents Nunes viewed, he said.

Nunes also shared that the NSA would not be able to provide him and his colleagues on the committee with all of the relevant documents on the matter by Friday, as they requested.

NSA Director Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey are scheduled to meet with the committee next week in closed session, pushing back an open hearing scheduled for Mar. 28, Nunes said.

Manafort is reportedly one of the Trump staffers that the FBI is investigating as part of its own probe into Russia’s influence campaign in the presidential race, as well as whether there was any “cooperation” between Trump’s staffers and Russian officials.

The White House has actively tried to distance itself from Manafort as multiple reports emerged this week documenting the millions of dollars he received from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party and from a Russian oligarch looking to “greatly benefit the Putin Government.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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