Sunday, 20 August, 2017

Head of Trump-Russia probe under fire, won't step down

Craig Ferguson | 01 April, 2017, 01:58

The chairman of a US committee of lawmakers investigating ties between President Donald Trump's election campaign and Russian Federation on Tuesday refused to stand down over an alleged conflict of interest, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.

Both the GOP chairman and Democratic ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee have traded barbs over the stalled progress of their investigation into the Russian government's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Trump quickly seized on the statements as at least partial vindication for his assertion that President Barack Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower - though Nunes, Schiff and FBI Director James Comey have said there is no such evidence.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on Nunes to recuse himself.

TRT World's Tetiana Anderson has more on the controversy from Washington DC. "Clearly, she is an individual that we're going to want to talk to as well", he said.

"We are aware that former AG Yates meant to speak on these matters, and sought permission from the White House to testify", Rep.

"This action is necessary in order to meet the public's expectation that Congress conducts an impartial investigation into a matter that threatens the core of our democracy", the CBC said in a statement on Wednesday.

"You guys know the truth of that", the congressman said of Democrats' claims that he is too close to Trump to be impartial in his investigating. For Democrats, and a few Republicans (Lindsey Graham, John McCain), his actions raised questions about whether the House committee's investigation can be unbiased and independent.

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"I think that we certainly had agreement today that the witnesses that we feel are appropriate, they won't stand in our way, and we feel the same way about witnesses they want to call", he said.

Nunes also said he first learned about that information on White House grounds, after a source showed him a report tied to the administration's secure networks.

Mr Nunes, who has given no explanation for cancelling the hearing, was already facing calls to step down from leading his committee's inquiry.

Nunes has refused to disclose his source or share the information with other members of the committee. But two days later he said he was not sure whether Trump and his aides were monitored and a spokesman said he needed to review more information. Nunes then apologized to Democrats, but the following day he canceled Tuesday's public hearing, saying he wanted to hear from Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers in private, prompting outrage from Democrats.

Besides the two congressional committees, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating connections between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. The Post report that the administration tried to block her from appearing before the House panel this week is "false", Spicer said.

Nunes has declined to name the person he met with at the White House complex, but told Bloomberg that it was a member of the intelligence community, not a White House staffer.

Gen Flynn was sacked by Mr Trump after intelligence leaked to journalists showed public assurances made by Vice President Mike Pence that he had not discussed sanctions with the ambassador were false. This time, it's thanks to a new report, which claims that Trump didn't want Yates to testify before Congress about unconfirmed allegations members of his team had colluded with Russian Federation.

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