Nunes, Schiff meet to try to get Russia investigation back on track

The chairman of the House intelligence committee is refusing to step away from its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as fresh political allegations bring new cries of protest from Democrats. He declined to say what specific information the White House had uncovered, and couldn't say whether Trump himself had been briefed on the materials.

"If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection", he suggested.

Schiff said Nunes has still not revealed the intelligence he said he shared with Trump and has pledged to share with the committee, or who Nunes met with at the White House. Nunes' prior role in Trump's transition team has added to concerns that he can't conduct an impartial investigation.

Nunes' decision to cancel Tuesday's hearing was the latest in a series of actions that Democrats contend demonstrate that his loyalty to Trump is greater than his commitment to leading an independent investigation.

But Schiff argued it was up to Nunes to restore credibility in the committee's investigation. "This was the first attempt at health care by the Republican leadership, and it did not originate in the White House".

Walsh, White House deputy chief of staff, is joining America First Policies as a senior strategist. In an interview on CNN, he suggested the president's aides were unaware of the meeting.

In them, O'Neil pushes back against what he says is Justice Department guidance on what Yates could say about conversations she had with Trump - conversations the department indicated could be covered by executive privilege. "Do you admit it, do you deny it, ' whatever", Spicer said. "That's it. Plain and simple", Spicer said.

The White House is not allowed to direct the outside groups on what to do; those groups typically use public statements by the president and others to determine how to use their resources.

Among those the committee appears to have talked to: Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned after he misled administration officials regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

"Asked by an ABC News reporter whether he would inform the other committee members about who gave him the reports he viewed on the White House grounds last week, Nunes said: 'We will never reveal those sources and methods'".

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the panel, emphasized that in addition to examining the broad topic of Russian efforts to influence the election, the panel also must seek to answer whether President Trump's campaign had contact with Russian officials previous year, noting the the Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened its own probe.

"It's irregular, to be benign about it, to have a lead investigator kibitzing with the people being investigated", said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn.

House Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled the bill in February to repeal and replace the Obama-era health care law, and although Trump said he supported it, he did not aggressively sell it until the final few days before the vote was scheduled.

"I can not get into who those individuals were", Spicer said at the daily news briefing.

  • Larry Hoffman