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

His comments come after Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) last week called for an investigation into Nunes, who earlier this month bypassed his own committee to brief President Trump and the media on information related to incidental USA surveillance of Trump's transition team.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan to replace Nunes as head of the intelligence committee, while House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the speaker should at least insist Nunes is not involved in the Russian Federation investigation.

But Nunes can not say whether Trump or any of the president's associates personally participated in the communications that were intercepted, meaning it's possible that the information he's citing merely refers to foreign officials talking about Trump transition team members.

He faces criticism for not telling Schiff about the White House visit.

Also standing behind Nunes - for now - is House Speaker Paul Ryan.

But the Justice Department told CNN that it referred the matter back to the White House counsel's office after Yates' attorneys reached out to the department to ask whether Yates' testimony would raise any issues.

WASHINGTON-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday that the administration did not pressure the House Intelligence Committee to cancel an open hearing that would have seen former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testify.

Among those officials was Sally Yates, the acting attorney general who reportedly warned the White House in January that then national security adviser had been recorded conversing with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Any claim that those internal discussions are still confidential "has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials", David O'Neil, an attorney for Yates, wrote in a letter to the White House on Friday - the same day that Rep.




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.

"I hope she testifies", Spicer said.

"I don't care what Mr. Ryan says", he said. "If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection", he suggested.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Graham said Nunes' story was "a little bizarre" and compared it to an "Inspector Clouseau investigation". "This isn't an investigation into Donald Trump's ties to Russia-it's a cover-up".

His Democratic counterpart Adam Schiff called for him to stand down as chair amid accusations Nunes is in the pocket of the White House.

Nunes' committee is now investigating reports that Moscow attempted to sway the election in Trump's favor, as well as allegations that members of Trump's campaign may have conspired with the Kremlin to that end.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has said that there is no information to support Trump's allegation that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower in NY.

Because an honest investigator does not slip over to the house of the fellow he is supposed to investigate and help him prepare his defense.

"You guys know the truth of that", the congressman said of Democrats' claims that he is too close to Trump to be impartial in his investigating.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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