Ex-CIA Chief: 'Interactions' Between Trump Campaign, Russia

The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee will subpoena former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its probe into alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election after he declined to appear before the panel, its top Democrat said on Wednesday.

Dan Coats, the current US director of national intelligence, declined to comment Tuesday on a Washington Post report that said the president had asked him to publicly deny any collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign.

Nevertheless, Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said Coats and NSA director Mike Rogers should provide explanations. They're protesting what they say is Trump administration's slow cooperation on the Russian Federation investigations.

Trump, who is in Rome on his first overseas trip as president, has been embroiled in controversy since his firing earlier this month of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey amid the agency's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Separately, Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump's presidential campaign, told Reuters via text message that he would testify before the House Intelligence Committee but was "still working out details".

USA intelligence agencies concluded in January that Moscow tried to tilt the election campaign in Trump's favor, including by hacking into and leaking the emails of senior Democrats.

Brennan noted anew that US intelligence agencies had concluded "Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the USA democratic process, denigrate Secretary (Hillary) Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency, and to help President Trump's election chances".

Former CIA chief Brennan's testimony to the House intelligence committee was the clearest public indication yet of the significance the Russian Federation contacts play in counterintelligence investigations that continue to hang over the White House.

The Senate panel on Tuesday chose to issue two additional subpoenas to Flynn's businesses and sent a letter to his lawyer asking about the legal basis for his invoking his Fifth Amendment right over documents as opposed to testimony.

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On Tuesday, former CIA Director John Brennan told lawmakers he had noticed contacts between associates of Trump's campaign and Russian Federation during the campaign and grew concerned Moscow had sought to lure Americans down "a treasonous path".

Others discussed leveraging their ties to Viktor Yanukovych, the deposed president of Ukraine living in exile in Russian Federation, who at one time had worked closely with Manafort, who was dismissed from Trump's campaign, the newspaper reported.

Flynn invoked the Fifth Amendment and rejected the committee's subpoena request for documents relating to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election earlier this week.

The Justice Department says Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose on a security clearance form meetings he had as a senator previous year with foreign dignitaries, including the Russian ambassador. But if reports about what Trump shared with the Russians are true, he said, it would be a violation of protocol.

"And that they undertook the activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning they not do so", said Brennan, who served as Central Intelligence Agency director from 2013 until January of this year when Trump took office.

GOP lawmakers spent much of Tuesday's hearing trying to get Brennan to concede that he had no conclusive evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. We would like to hear from Gen. Flynn. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey earlier this month, prompting reports that the president tried to steer Comey away from Flynn and the Russian Federation investigation.

Dan Coats is testifying Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

  • Leroy Wright