Visit to WH grounds by intel chairman clouds investigation
- Author: Anthony Vega Apr 04, 2017,
Apr 04, 2017, 1:09
The panel had earlier canceled a planned public hearing for Tuesday with several former Obama administration officials, including former acting attorney general Sally Yates.
Yates and another witness at the planned hearing, former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, had made clear to government officials by Thursday that their testimony to the committee probably would contradict some statements that White House officials had made, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Sean Spicer, white house press secretary: "I hope she testifies". Swalwell wouldn't go into detail about how Nunes responded, but did say, "I don't think it's happening".
Yates was heavily involved in the internal investigation, and the White House reportedly fears she would contradict official statements made about Flynn.
At the committee's first public hearing on the Russian Federation investigation held last week, FBI Director James Comey confirmed for the first time that the bureau is investigating coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation as well.
Warner addressed Nunes' recent actions on Tuesday, telling reporters that "none of us, Democrat or Republican, on the Senate Intelligence Committee still has any idea what he's talking about" and that "these kind of actions aren't making our investigation easier". It's unclear when that testimony will occur.
On Tuesday, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, became the first Republican lawmaker to openly call for Nunes's recusal.
Nunes told reporters on Monday that no one from the White House knew he was there when he obtained the documents, which he claims have nothing to do with Russian Federation.
On Tuesday, Nunes rebuffed calls to step aside from the investigation.
Mr Nunes yesterday declined to answer directly a question from reporters on whether he would recuse himself from the panel's probe. "But we would urge that the open hearing be rescheduled without further delay", Schiff said. In a series of tweets Monday night, Trump said that instead of probing his associates, the committee should be investigating his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton's ties to the Kremlin.
Asked about conflict with the House Intelligence Committee's ranking member Adam Schiff, Nunes said, "We're always concerned about this and we always want to keep the committee bipartisan but at the end of the day we're going to do an investigation with or without them".
"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.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is leading a separate probe into alleged Russian ties to the Trump campaign.
But Nunes can not say whether Trump or any of the president's associates personally participated in the communications that were intercepted, meaning it's possible that the information he's citing merely refers to foreign officials talking about Trump transition team members. He then went to the White House to brief the president on what he had seen, leaving the rest of the House intelligence committee members in the dark.
"We certainly welcome the director to come back, but not in lieu of a public hearing", Schiff said.