Trump says 'big story' isn't Russian Federation probe

02 Juin, 2017, 02:22 | Author: Marc Bacque

James Comey, fired last month as FBI director amid a federal investigation into connections between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, is set to testify next Thursday at a highly anticipated congressional hearing that could shed light on his private conversations with the president in the weeks before his dismissal.

Nunes, who had been a member of Trump's transition team, made the allegations just two days after then Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey shocked Washington by revealing in a public hearing that his agency had been probing possible collusion of Trump associates with Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The other subpoenas were issued for Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, and Michael Cohen, the president's personal lawyer, as well as their businesses. It marked the first time the White House had officially acknowledged that outside counsel had been retained. Mueller's separate probe could conceivably look at the circumstances surrounding Comey's firing.

It is possible that the Trump White House could try to raise executive privilege claims in arguing that any conversations with the president could not be discussed publicly.

On Capitol Hill, a rift continued between Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the chairman of the House intelligence committee, and Democrats on the panel. In April, numerous media outlets, citing both Republican and Democratic congressional sources, reported that intelligence reports pertaining to the communications of Trump's advisers with foreign agents were "normal and appropriate" and contained "no evidence of wrongdoing".In the early 2000s, he formed his own firm working on a range of legal matters, including malpractice cases, business law and work on an ethanol business in Ukraine.But as Nunes' story unraveled - and news emerged that the intelligence he reviewed was provided by White House staffers - pressure grew for him to step aside. Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a statement Thursday.

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The subpoenas sent to government agencies were related to Trump's complaints that Obama administration officials had asked, for political reasons, to be told the names of Trump associates documented in intelligence reports. The requests were made by former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, former national security adviser Susan Rice and Samantha Power, the former USA representative to the United Nations, according to a congressional staffer, who was not authorized to disclose the information and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Another senior committee aide said any subpoenas related to the unmasking issue would have been sent by committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation after being criticized for being too close to the White House. Officials only "unmask" the identities of Americans for certain reasons - for example, if the name of a person is needed to understand the intelligence being provided.

The subpoenas related to the committee's unmasking investigation were issued by Nunes alone. Schiff said committee rules allow Nunes to delegate that authority to Conaway. He said he hoped House Speaker Paul Ryan would intervene to make sure that happened. The Russian government denied knowing anything about such a plan.The subpoenas issued on Wednesday seek to obtain the testimony of the two men as well as their business documents, Efe news reported.

The Comey associate, who wasn't authorized to discuss details of the testimony and spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to discuss the content of Comey's planned testimony.


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