US House committee sets more hearings in Trump-Russia probe

22 April, 2017, 01:44 | Author: Jonathon Greene
  • Pablo Martinez Monsivais Associated Press		Then Deputy Attorney General nominee Sally Yates testified on Capitol Hill in Washington

This comes after Reuters reported this week that a Russian government think tank controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin prepared the framework for interfering in the 2016 USA presidential election. Former CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also were invited to appear at an open hearing on May 2.

The Committee submitted a letter Thursday asking FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers to testify in closed session on May 2.

It was the abrupt cancellation of those officials' scheduled March 28 appearance that set off a chain of events that sent the House investigation into a tailspin and led to the recusal of the committee's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a member of Trump's transition team, from involvement in the probe. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, has taken over in the meantime and the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, told "CBS This Morning this week that the probe is "back on track" after Nunes, he said, "cast a real cloud over the committee".

Last month, The Washington Post reported that the White House attempted to stop Yates from testifying. During that hearing Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating alleged ties between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Since this will be a public hearing, Yates may well have to "no comment" a bunch of questions, or defy the White House like she did back in January.

Nunes was forced to step aside when the House Ethics Committee announced that it was investigating whether he himself had improperly revealed classified information. He also testified that there's no evidence to support the president's allegation that Obama "wiretapped" Trump Tower a year ago.

The unanswered question is whether the decline in U.S. -Russia relations will dampen congressional enthusiasm for an investigation into whether Russian Federation sought to help elect Trump.

In the Senate, Republican and Democratic leaders of the Intelligence Committee say they trust each other and are proceeding with their own investigation into Russian meddling, including the hacking and release of Democratic emails and possible collaboration.

He came under criticism for his handling of classified material, obtained from White House officials, that he said showed Obama administration officials "unmasked" the identities of people close to Trump who were mentioned in legal surveillance of foreign individuals.

Senate investigators now are interviewing analysts and intelligence agents who prepared public and classified reports in January that concluded that Russian Federation had interfered in last year's election on Trump's behalf, an official familiar with the congressional activity said.

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