Posted by: maboulette | July 3, 2017

Russia Probe Accelerates as Divided House Panel Plans Interviews

Committee hearing

The House Intelligence Committee is accelerating its probe of possible collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, with plans to hold closed-door interviews with former campaign officials Michael Caputo and Paul Manafort.


Caputo, a former Trump adviser, is scheduled to appear on July 14, according to a committee official who asked for anonymity.   Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager, previously said he’d speak with the committee and hasn’t scheduled a date yet, said his spokesman, Jason Maloni, on Monday.


The planned interviews represent progress for a panel that’s been so divided by partisan mistrust that its members have struggled to agree on their probe’s mission and scope. The committee’s Senate counterpart has conducted far more interviews.


Caputo has said he wants to testify to dismiss any notion of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Caputo worked in Russia in the 1990s and in the early 2000s for a Russian conglomerate that supported President Vladimir Putin.


Manafort consulted in the past for the pro-Russian former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Last week, Bloomberg News reported that Ukrainian prosecutors found no proof of illicit payments to Manafort for his work for the party of the nation’s ousted leader. Anti-corruption investigators in the ex-Soviet republic said last year that they’d found ledgers showing $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments between 2007 and 2012 earmarked for Manafort from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.


Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone is set to testify to the panel behind closed doors on July 24, his lawyer Grant Smith said last week.


Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, also has agreed to testify, though no date has been set, according to the committee official.


Committee officials have said they’re also seeking interviews with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and top White House aide. The committee has subpoenaed Michael Flynn, Trump’s fired national security adviser, and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.


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