Devin Nunes refuses to step away from Russia probe
- Author: Joanne Flowers Mar 29, 2017,
Mar 29, 2017, 19:12
"How can you be chairman of a major committee and do all these things behind the scenes and keep your credibility?"
Besides the two congressional committees, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating connections between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.
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.
"The open hearing last week provided the public the first acknowledgment of an FBI investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, a direct repudiation of the president's claim that he had been wiretapped by his predecessor, and also the most extensive discussion to date of the how the Russians accomplished this unprecedented intrusion into the nation's electoral process", Schiff said. So far, Nunes has refused.
"This is politics", he said Tuesday, before Jones' remarks. "I understand that people have to play different sides".
President Trump commented that Nunes' evidence of surveillance left him feeling "somewhat vindicated". What he learned. In fact, the only reason we know he was at the White House-twice-is because he was seen at the White House. During his trip, Nunes said, he viewed documents that show Trump and his transition team were swept up in USA surveillance of foreign targets after the election.
"We are aware that former AG Yates meant to speak on these matters, and sought permission to testify from the White House", Schiff said Tuesday in a statement. On Monday, it announced that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has agreed to be interviewed. Yates briefed Trump's White House counsel on former national security adviser Michael Flynn's meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Kushner is the fourth Trump associate to offer to be interviewed by the congressional committees looking into the murky Russian Federation ties. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, Trump adviser Carter Page and Trump associate Roger Stone last week volunteered to speak as well.
"The chairman is extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of US citizens, and he began looking into this issue even before President Trump tweeted his assertion that Trump Tower had been wiretapped", Langer said.
A Republican senator says the House intelligence chairman has "put his objectivity in question" when it comes to investigating Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election.
While some Republicans have been critical on Rep. Nunes, only one GOP member of the House has joined Democrats in calling for him to step aside. It is very unusual for a committee chairman and ranking member not to coordinate meetings related to an investigation.
The development comes amid renewed questions over the impartiality of a parallel inquiry from the House Intelligence Committee.
The letter was sent on the same day that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes canceled a previously scheduled hearing that Yates was going to appear at.
Last week, Nunes made a secret visit to the White House to meet a person he called a confidential source - a visit that Nunes and Spicer say was unknown to Trump and his aides.
In the House, and at the White House, most Republicans continued to stand by Nunes.
Democratic opposition to Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee grows while the White House demands a "fair up-or-down vote" in the Senate on confirming Neil Gorsuch to the lifetime post. In a statement Tuesday, he said: "The Washington Post story is entirely false".
Schiff also called for a supplemental independent investigation to go forward.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Ryan to replace Nunes.