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

Mark Wilson Getty Images
Mark Wilson Getty Images
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07 April, 2017

Nunes himself, however, served on President Trump's transition team and has been accused of leading a biased investigation because of his close ties to the Trump White House.

Questions over Nunes' independence have split the usually non-partisan Intelligence Committee as Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to damage the investigation.

Nunes acknowledged Monday that he met with a "source" on the White House grounds just before announcing that associates of President Donald Trump had been caught up in USA surveillance.

"That's a very, very personal decision about what congressman Nunes thinks is best to do for him, his constituents and the good of the investigation", Christie told GMA. The calls for him to resign came after revelations about his meeting with a secret source on White House grounds raised questions about his and the panel's independence.

As Gary Kasparov, the Russian dissident and former world chess champion, said in a tweet: "The house is on fire, Trump is running around with a box of matches, and the GOP demands to know who called the fire department".

Though the White House did not respond to the Post's request for comment, an official released a statement calling the report "entirely false" and "completely irresponsible".

Rep. Jim Himes, d-Connecticut: "well look at this point there's really one thing that needs to happen to rescue this investigation and that is that chairman Nunes needs to recuse himself".

FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, 2017 about President's Trump wiretapping claims and Trump's presidential campaign links to Russian hackers.

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O'Neil's letter to the White House said Yates would still plan to testify if he did not hear from the White House by Monday morning that it was asserting executive privilege.

In his press briefing, Spicer said the White House had no objection to Yates's testimony and denied any coordination with Nunes to block it.

Spicer said that Yates had asked the Justice Department for permission to testify publicly and that it had been granted.

Yates, of course, played a key role in investigating former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, who had to step down from his position as Trump's national security adviser after it emerged that he had spoken to the Russian Ambassador about sanctions leveled by the Obama Administration during Trump's transition. "The committee asked her to testify on our own accord and we still intend to have her speak to us", Langer said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan continued to express confidence in Nunes Tuesday, saying there is no need for the chairman to resign. At the time, Nunes told reporters, "The committee seeks additional information from Monday's hearing that can only be addressed in closed session".

The row comes as the House continues to investigate claims that the Kremlin had sought to interfere with the United States election to help Mr Trump's campaign.

Mr Swalwell revealed Mr Nunes had not told the intelligence committee the source of the surveillance claims.

Yet another controversy swirling around the Nunes committee investigation emerged just today.


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