Trump dismisses Russian Federation 'story,' attacks the Clintons and House Intelligence Committee
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 06, 2017,
Apr 06, 2017, 21:32
The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee is asking whether an open congressional hearing on the Russian Federation probe was canceled because the White House did not want former acting Attorney General Sally Yates to testify and assert executive privilege.
In a related development, a Russian bank under Western economic sanctions, Vnesheconombank, disclosed on Monday that its executives met Mr Jared Kushner, Mr Trump's son-in-law and a top White House adviser, during the 2016 election campaign, reported Reuters.
The demand followed revelations that the committee's chairman, Representative Devin Nunes of California, met a source on White House grounds to view secret United States intelligence reports, reported The New York Times.
"The House investigation has been plagued with partisan divisions under Mr Nunes" leadership. "The report in the Washington Post is 100 percent false".
"It is very obvious the White House wanted this open meeting canceled", Rep.
Mr Nunes yesterday declined to answer directly a question from reporters on whether he would recuse himself from the panel's probe.
'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, ' he said in a statement released by the White House.
Schiff said Nunes' connections to the White House have raised insurmountable public doubts about whether the committee could credibly investigate the president's campaign associates.
Yates, along with former CIA Director John Brennan and former director of national intelligence James Clapper, had agreed to testify publicly before the House intelligence committee.
The top Democrat on the panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, told NPR journalists on Tuesday that he believes the White House's worries about what Yates might say led administration leaders to tell the Justice Department not to authorize Yates' testimony.
The canceled hearing would have been the first opportunity for the public to hear Yates' account of her role in the firing of Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
After reviewing the information last week, Nunes called a news conference to announce that USA spy agencies may have inadvertently captured Trump and his associates in the routine targeting of foreigners' communications.
A lawyer for former deputy attorney general Sally Yates says in letters last week that the Trump administration had moved to squelch her testimony in a hearing about Russian meddling in the presidential election.
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration who was sacked by President Trump on January 31, reportedly notified the White House ahead of an appearance that was scheduled for an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee this week. She said his actions raise questions about whether the panel's investigation can be unbiased and independent.
Nunes would not name the source of the information, nor would he disclose who invited him on the White House grounds for the meeting.
Yates' attorney David O'Neil said in a letter Friday to White House Counsel Don McGahn that Yates would go forward with her testimony and "conclude that the White House does not assert executive privilege" if he did not receive a response by Monday.
Spicer said Tuesday the White House was given a March 27 deadline by Yates's attorney to register any objections to her testimony, who added they would view a nonresponse as permission to go ahead. In an interview on CNN, he suggested the president's aides were unaware of the meeting.