Visit to WH grounds by intel chairman clouds investigation

Apr 04, 2017, 01:12

CBS News obtained a letter from the Trump Justice Department to Yates' attorney warning that there was a limit to what she could reveal in her testimony and that "she needs to consult with the White House".

The White House on Tuesday also rejected allegations that it sought to prevent former acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying the House committee's investigation.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday acknowledged talks but no imminent plans for reviving the bill. Swalwell wouldn't go into detail about how Nunes responded, but did say, "I don't think it's happening".

Nunes told CNN that neither the President nor his team knew he was there, although a former White House official said he would have needed to be cleared and escorted into the building by a staffer.

The chairman has attracted criticism for his handling of the surveillance information - first for keeping the information from members of the House Intelligence Committee for partisan reasons and then for saying his source provided the classified information on the White House grounds.

The top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee hurled salvos at each other on Wednesday, raising partisan tensions over the investigation into Russian meddling in the US election.

Nunes did not say when he expected Comey to testify, only that he had extended the formal invitation. It's unclear when that testimony will occur.

Democratic members of Nunes' House committee said his ability to lead a bipartisan probe is compromised.

Nunes confirmed Monday that he met with the source at the White House complex, but he denied co-ordinating with the president's aides.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, meanwhile, continued to support Nunes. If you watched Shepard Smith Reporting on Tuesday afternoon, you heard about Nunes, too, but in a pretty different context. "We have no problem with her testifying".

Several congressional committees, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States intelligence community, are investigating Russian meddling in the USA election, including the hacking and release of Democratic e-mails.

All meetings of the House Russia investigators were canceled this week shortly before the top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, said Nunes must recuse himself in order for the investigation to continue. "Certain actions by the chairman have hurt the crediblity of the committee". Some Democrats have accused Nunes of trying to undermine the investigation's independence from the White House and called on him to recuse himself from it.

I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President's campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman.

The question of collusion between Russian interests and Donald Trump's campaign is far from answered, despite repeated assertions by the president's spokesman that it's case closed.

Any claim that those internal discussions are still confidential "has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials", David O'Neil, an attorney for Yates, wrote in a letter to the White House on Friday - the same day that Rep.

"Whether the White House's desire to avoid a public claim of executive privilege to keep her from providing the full truth on what happened contributed to the decision to cancel today's hearing, we do not know", Schiff said in statement Tuesday morning.

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