WASHINGTON - New Britain, Conn., native Paul Manafort will be summoned before the Senate Judiciary Committee for questioning about the government’s enforcement of a law requiring registration of foreign lobbyists, according to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Grassley announced this week that he would be calling President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager to testify. Manafort will also likely be questioned about his involvement in a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower that included Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, who also is a senior White House official.
“If he comes before our committee - and we’ll subpoena him if necessary - then … obviously it’d be appropriate for anybody to get into anything that went on at that meeting, since he was at that meeting,” Grassley said of Manafort on Tuesday.
U.S. Sen, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who serves on the Senate Judicial Committee, said he has a number of questions for Manafort.
“I will be asking about all the meetings, conversations and other contact with the Russians on behalf of the Trump campaign, as well as many of his past dealings,” Blumenthal told The Herald on Thursday. “He assisted the Ukrainian president - who was supported by Russia before he was ousted - and he was paid $17.2 million for his work, so he has a past history of working with Russians or at least dealing with them.”
According to emails released by Trump Jr. via Twitter, Manafort, Trump Jr. and Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to discuss damaging information about Donald Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton.
Manafort was born and raised in New Britain and is the son of businessman and political leader Paul Manafort Sr., who served as mayor from 1965 to 1971. A street near Central Connecticut State University bearing the elder Manafort’s name was dedicated in 1994.
Paul Manafort St. died in 2013. The family owns a construction business, Manafort Brothers Inc., based in Plainville.
This is not the first time in 2017 that Manafort has been the subject of controversy. In March, The Associated Press reported that there was evidence Manafort received millions of dollars in payments from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire and political ally of President Vladimir Putin, “to develop a multi-faceted strategic plan to promote Russian national interests in the U.S., in Ukraine and Central Asia and Eastern Europe.”
The report alleged that Manafort developed a strategic plan in 2005 to advance Russian national interests “at the highest levels of the U.S. government - the White House, Capitol Hill and the State Department.”
“We’re making no assumptions about what our conclusion will be, but we want all the facts,” Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal told The Herald that the Senate Judiciary Committee will also ask Trump Jr. - among others - to testify. Blumenthal said a formal date for Manafort’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee has not been decided.
“We’re going to be vigorous and comprehensive in our questioning, but fair,” Blumenthal said.
Jason Maloni, Manafort’s spokesman, told The Herald on Friday that he could not comment on Manafort’s anticipated testimony to the Senate panel at this time.
This story includes material from The Associated Press.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at email@example.com.