Lawyer says Trump administration moved to squelch testimony

Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan. Aaron Bernstein Reuters
Author

07 April, 2017

In recent days, the calls have grown louder for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Jones said Nunes should "Absolutely" step aside from the position of committee chairman.

One Republican lawmaker, Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina, went so far as to join Democrats in demanding a special committee to investigate the Russian Federation probe, telling Fox News on Tuesday that Nunes was now "tainted".

The meeting came a day after FBI Director James Comey had debunked Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him. When asked about whether his clandestine meeting on White House grounds was legitimate, Nunes said that everything was above-board, that he wasn't sneaking around, and that multiple people were aware that he was lurking in the West Wing. At the meeting, O'Neil presented a letter in which he said the Justice Department had "advised" him that Yates's official communications on issues of interest to the House panel are "client confidences" that can not be disclosed without written consent.

Nunes stressed that no Republicans have echoed the Democrats' calls for a recusal, a statement that was accurate at the time he made it.

The White House quickly called the report "entirely false".

Nunes said Tuesday he won't share that information - even with members of his own panel.

California representative Eric Swalwell, a member of the committee, has called on Mr Nunes to step down from chairing the investigation into whether Russian hackers had interfered with the presidential elections previous year.

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Among those officials was Sally Yates, the acting attorney general who reportedly warned the White House in January that then national security adviser had been recorded conversing with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

In his Tuesday briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer said that the White House did not weigh in on whether Yates could testify.

On Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi demanded that Speaker Paul Ryan pull Nunes from the investigation.

"I hope she testifies".

While Democrats have not withdrawn from the Intelligence Committee, it appears that the damage done to the House investigation may be irreparable.

"I look forward to it", Spicer told reporters of Sally Yates, a former deputy attorney general who was slated to talk to the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who have become known as the two GOP members most willing to openly criticize the Trump administration, didn't ask for his recusal but did insist that he should reveal his surveillance source. Mr. Nunes told reporters Tuesday morning. "I've been around for quite a while and I've never heard of such thing".

The Senate committee also announced Monday it will hear testimony from Jared Kushner, a senior advisor and the son-in-law of Trump, about his meeting during the transition with the top executive of a Russian bank on which the US had slapped sanctions.


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