Paul Manafort volunteers to appear before committee investigating Russian election hacking

Nick Allen
Paul Manafort - Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu

Paul Manafort, former chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, has volunteered to appear before the committee investigating alleged interference in by the Kremlin in last year's US election.

Congressman Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Mr Manafort's lawyer had contacted the committee to offer to appear.

It had not been decided whethr the interview would take place publicly or behind closed doors, but it could be as early as next week.

Mr Manafort was one of a handful of people connected to the Trump campaign who have faced speculation over contacts with Russia and Mr Nunes urged others to come forward.

This week the Associated Press reported that a decade ago Mr Manafort worked for Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and and wrote a proposal benefiting the government in Moscow.

Mr Manafort said he did work for Mr Deripaska but categorically denied ever working for the Russian government or "representing Russian political interests". He said he was a victim of "smear and innuendo".

Mr Nunes said: "The counsel for Paul Manafort contacted the committee yesterday to offer the committee the opportunity to interview his client.

"We thank Mr Manafort for volunteering and encourage others to talk voluntarily with the committee."

He added: "Anyone who has read their name in any press article is welcome to come forward. People are welcome to come forward in whatever manner they want.

"The important thing is that people come in freely. We are not going to get into a neo-McCarthyism era here. If people want to come in freely we will do that."

Mr Nunes said James Comey, Director of the FBI, and Admiral Mike Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency, who both appeared recently before the committee in public, would do so again next week behind closed doors.

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