House intelligence chairman under pressure in Trump-Russia inquiry
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 29, 2017,
Mar 29, 2017, 8:35
Nunes would not name the source of the information, and his office said he did not intend to share it with other members of the committee.
Yates, of course, played a key role in investigating former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, who had to step down from his position as Trump's national security adviser after it emerged that he had spoken to the Russian Ambassador about sanctions leveled by the Obama Administration during Trump's transition. Why would Nunes need to brief the president on documents he viewed at a facility on White House grounds?
Spicer noted that the White House did not respond, meaning that there was no attempt to block her from testifying. He even suggested, curiously, that the hearing hadn't actually been canceled.
"The White House has taken no action to prevent Sally Yates from testifying and the Department of Justice specifically told her that it would not stop her and to suggest otherwise is completely irresponsible", White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a Tuesday statement. A person familiar with the situation confirmed them as authentic to The Associated Press.
Comey's second round of testimony touched off a partisan fight among House investigators into Russia's meddling in the United States election, with Democrats saying they were angry Nunes canceled a public hearing with former intelligence officials, including former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Schiff says he hopes the hearing can be rescheduled without delay.
House Speaker Paul Ryan is expressing confidence in the chairman of the House intelligence committee, saying he should continue to lead the panel's probe into Russian contacts with President Donald Trump's associates.
Nunes told reporters on Monday that no one from the White House knew he was there when he obtained the documents, which he claims have nothing to do with Russian Federation.
On Tuesday, Nunes rebuffed calls to step aside from the investigation. When Spicer was asked about this further, he insisted that "we have no problem with her testifying", and that WaPo's piece is "100% false". For his part, Nunes has said the trip was not at night but during the day, and he wasn't trying to hide. He dismissed those comments as "a lot of politics".
Nunes has canceled the rest of the committee's meetings this week, Democratic committee member Rep. Jim Himes said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday. Democrats say they should have been invited and briefed on the same specifics. Flynn had told Trump officials, including Mike Pence, that he had not talked to Kislyak about US sanctions against Russian Federation - as the Obama administration was implementing those sanctions. The committee has said it is getting some of what it requested, but has not received everything.
For the last few days, much of Washington has been obsessed with what Rep. Devin Nunes did last Tuesday evening.
After reviewing the information last week, Nunes called a news conference to announce that US spy agencies may have inadvertently captured Trump and his associates in the routine targeting of foreigners' communications. She said his actions raise questions about whether the panel's investigation can be unbiased and independent. Therefore, to the extent Ms. Yates needs consent to disclose the details of those communications to [the intelligence panel], she needs to consult with the White House. John McCain, want a special process to investigate Russia's election meddling, either a select committee within the Congress or something like the 9/11 Commission that followed the 2001 terrorist attacks.