Ex-Trump aide Manafort's spokesman testifies to Russia probe grand jury

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Ex-Trump aide Manafort's spokesman testifies to Russia probe grand jury

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By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The spokesman for President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort testified before a federal grand jury on Friday in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Russia. Jason Maloni, the president of the crisis public relations firm JadeRoq LLC, spoke briefly with reporters after leaving a courtroom where he had testified for a little less than two hours. “I was ordered to appear today before the grand jury. I answered questions and I’ve been dismissed,” Maloni said. He declined to discuss the types of questions he was asked. Mueller is investigating Manafort’s financial and real estate dealings and his prior work for the Party of Regions, a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, that backed former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovich. Overall, Mueller’s investigation and two congressional panels are looking into conclusions by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia worked to tilt last November’s election in Republican Trump’s favour. Moscow has repeatedly denied any meddling in the election and Trump has denied any collusion by his campaign. Mueller’s investigators are examining potential money laundering by Manafort and other possible financial crimes, sources have told Reuters. Manafort was also present at a June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya who offered to provide damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Others at that meeting included Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. In July, Manafort’s Virginia home was raided by FBI agents. Maloni, as Manafort’s spokesman, had told reporters that Manafort “has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well.”

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Grant McCool)
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