The Senate Judiciary Committee just gave former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. a decision to make by Friday evening and the clock is ticking. The Committee has pre-approved subpoenas in order to force Manafort and Don Jr. to appear before the panel if they do not accept by Friday evening an invitation to appear next week, the Washington Post reports.
Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the Committee Chairman, said that Manafort, Trump Jr. and a third invited witness, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, have been given until Friday night to accept the invitation to testify in a public hearing which is scheduled for Wednesday.
Now, if they do not accept this offer, the Iowa Republican said that subpoenas would be issued “almost immediately.”
“We’ve already authorized” the orders, Grassley said. He further noted that the committee’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), had also signed off on the orders in advance. “She and I don’t have to take any action — it’s already been taken.”
According to a member of Manafort’s legal team, they are considering the request. But it’s really a request in name only since the subpoenas are ready to go.
Things are so bad for Manafort that he’s confused about which meeting to respond to first.
Grassley scheduled the two senior Trump campaign surrogates to appear before the panel the same week as the Senate Intelligence Committee plans to interview the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. That interview is scheduled for Monday, according to Kushner’s lawyer — although on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Mark R. Warner (Va.), indicated the committee was also planning on a second audience with Kushner.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is being scrutinized as well, along with Manafort and Don Jr., over their interactions with Russians, most of which have been revealed recently. Kushner had to update the list of foreign contacts on his disclosure form — which he needed to submit to get security clearance — three times. He added more than 100 people to it. Apparently, Kushner has a very bad memory.
Kushner, Manafort and Trump Jr. will also be asked about their meeting at Trump Tower in June of 2016 in which they met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer in order to obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton to help his father win the election.
The number of people present at the meeting keeps increasing, which totally doesn’t seem suspicious at all. Don Jr. said it was a conversation about adoption, but according to the emails Trump’s son released on Twitter, there was no mention of that. Instead, it mentioned getting dirt on Clinton.
The 8th person in that secret Russian meeting with Trump Jr. has been identified as Irakly Kaveladeze. He’s a bit of a shady character who was once the subject of a congressional inquiry into money laundering. Kaveladeze was accused of being involved in a massive effort, in a ten year period, to launder $1.4 billion of Russian and Eastern European money through U.S. banks.
Like Trump has said about his Russian scandal, Kaveladeze called his money laundering scandal a ‘witch hunt.’
Trump has repeatedly called the Russia scandal ‘fake news’ and so has Don Jr. We’re wondering if under questioning as he stands in front of the panel, Junior will yell out, “Fake panel!” Because this isn’t Twitter anymore. This is real life. Tick tock.
Featured image via John Moore/Getty Images