Nunes won't leave Russian Federation probe; Ryan says no need to
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 01, 2017,
Apr 01, 2017, 11:48
Committee chairman Devin Nunes cancelled the congressional meetings for the week this morning, which came hours before Yates was supposed to take questions on the probe into President Trump's ties to Russian Federation.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on House Speaker Ryan to replace Nunes as chairman of the intelligence committee.
The Washington Post reported that Trump's administration wanted to block Yates' testimony - a claim denied Tuesday by White House spokesman Sean Spicer. "I look forward to it", Spicer told reporters during his daily briefing.
The row comes as the House continues to investigate claims that the Kremlin had sought to interfere with the USA election to help Mr Trump's campaign.
The investigation has also been dogged by questions about the conduct of Nunes, who was part of President Trump's transition team.
Mr Nunes is under pressure to explain why he went to the White House alone to review intelligence, a day before announcing alleged new evidence in his committee's investigation. "You guys need to go ask them why these things are being said [about a conflict of interest]". That information was believed to have been provided to him by his former staffer Michael Ellis - who was hired by the Trump White House on March 7.
The letters on Thursday and Friday outline claims of confidentiality as a Justice official and executive privilege for communications with the White House. Among them is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, who has acknowledged meetings with Russians during the transition.
In his remarks Tuesday, Nunes seemed confused as to why he wouldn't continue to run the House's investigation as the committee's chairman.
"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.
But Schiff pointed out that Nunes has still not rescheduled the testimony from the former Obama administration officials, who in addition to Yates included former CIA director John Brennan and former director of national intelligence James Clapper.
"The White House did not respond and took no action that prevented Ms. Yates from testifying".
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.
A White House spokesperson called the story "entirely false. I know how the people out here feel", Jones said, according to the Hill.
CBS News obtained a letter from the Justice Department to the attorney representing Yates. It warns that there is a limit to what she could reveal in her testimony and that "she needs to consult with the White House".