Head of Trump-Russia probe under fire, won't step down

by Linda Olson April 7, 2017, 3:32
Head of Trump-Russia probe under fire, won't step down

Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are conducting separate investigations on any possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign, while FBI Director James Comey said his agency is leading its own inquiry into the matter. Democrats on Monday called on Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation after he acknowledged he went to the White House complex to review intelligence reports and meet a secret source.

One Republican lawmaker, Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina, went so far as to join Democrats in demanding a special committee to investigate the Russian Federation probe, telling Fox News on Tuesday that Nunes was now "tainted".

Nunes, R-Calif., has been the subject of growing scrutiny over the past week since he announced that members of President Donald Trump's transition team were incidentally caught up in surveillance by the USA intelligence community in November, December and January.

Nunes claimed there is evidence of incidental federal surveillance of Trump associates during the 2016 presidential campaign.

O'Neil then wrote to White House Counsel Donald McGahn, saying that he believed any privilege had been waived as a result of past White House statements and that Yates planned to testify unless he heard back from McGahn.

Nunes did not say when he expected Comey to testify, only that he had extended the formal invitation. Graham said Nunes' story was "a little bizarre" and compared it to an "Inspector Clouseau investigation".

"At this point, an independent commission outside the jurisdiction of the White House and Congress is the only acceptable way forward".

Last week, California Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, cancelled the hearing, in which Yates was supposed to appear alongside former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. "It's obviously my intent that Sally Yates would be one of the people [that would testify]", Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Tuesday, though there is no invitation yet.

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In the letter sent to the Justice Department last week, O'Neil says it was his understanding that the Justice Department was invoking "further constraints" on testimony she could provide at a House Intelligence Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Even before the Yates controversy surfaced on Tuesday, Democratic leaders were calling on Nunes to step down.

During his press briefing Tuesday, Spicer said of Yates: "I hope she testifies".

The Senate intelligence committee is doing its own investigation and since late July the FBI has been conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russia's meddling and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.

"Wouldn't have been the way I would've done things, but I don't know whether that means he has to recuse himself", Christie said on Good Morning America Wednesday.

Democrats have increased their demands for Nunes to go.

The Senate committee also announced Monday it will hear testimony from Jared Kushner, a senior advisor and the son-in-law of Trump, about his meeting during the transition with the top executive of a Russian bank on which the US had slapped sanctions.


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