US House Intelligence chair suddenly cancels open hearing on 'Russia links'

In the wake of Nunes' actions, Schiff called for an independent commission to take over the investigation into President Trump's wiretapping claims.

Paul Manafort, then Donald Trump's campaign manager, at the Republican National Convention in July.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has volunteered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, the committee's chairman told reporters Friday.

Asked about health of the committee's ability to continue to investigate, Gowdy said: "I think it's fine". On Wednesday the Associated Press revealed that Manafort signed a $10m (£8m) annual contract with Russian aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to influence influence United States politics, business and news coverage to "greatly benefit the Putin government". Trump, who in early March tweeted without giving evidence that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped his campaign while the businessman competed against Democrat Hillary Clinton, said he was "somewhat vindicated" by Nunes' statement. He also said that none of the surveillance he knew about was related to Russian Federation.

Nunes urged others to voluntarily come forward for interviews as well while cautioning against a "new McCarthyism era where we bring people in because they're in a press story". "I'm going to do everything I can to get this back on track". "I'm highly concerned about that". ".If he wants to come out in public and have a public hearing he's more than welcome to do that".

U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Representative Devin Nunes briefs reporters at the U.S. Capitol, March 24. The scheduled witnesses, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, were in office when the purported hacking and disinformation by Russian Federation to influence the election took place.

"We, I think, suffered really two serious blows to the integrity of the investigation this week, one, with that unilateral trip to the White House, but the other with a cancellation of an open hearing".

He said the committee's hearing on Monday demonstrates how important it is that these inquiries be conducted publicly.

During a hearing Monday in front of the committee, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the bureau had been investigating potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government since late July.

Although he says it's something the public ought to know, Nunes is keeping his information under tighter wraps than a celebrity Snapchat account.

After reading the reports, Nunes told CNN he was confident the Obama White House and numerous agencies "had a pretty good idea of what President-elect Trump was up to and what his transition team was up to and who they were meeting with".

The statement left open whether he will agree to discuss his previous work as an worldwide political consultant in eastern Europe.

Mr Manafort said he did work for Mr Deripaska but categorically denied ever working for the Russian government or "representing Russian political interests". According to the AP, Manafort signed a $10 million annual contract with Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally.

  • Larry Hoffman