Lawyer says Trump administration moved to squelch testimony

Lawyer says Trump administration moved to squelch testimony


The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says he's not stepping down during the panel's investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

The committee's top Democratic member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), has said that action alone sufficiently crossed the line where Nunes must recuse himself.

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 did not disclose until Monday that he received those documents not in the committee's secured workspaces for viewing classified material, but at the White House complex.

After reviewing the information last week, Nunes called a news conference to announce that US spy agencies may have inadvertently captured Trump and his associates in routine targeting of foreigners' communications. In response, Yates' attorney argued that the White House had already waived its privilege on this matter and that she would not discuss any now classified information.

Yates warned the White House in January that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail after he made incorrect statements about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The next month, Flynn was forced to resign for what the White House said were his contradictory statements to Vice President Mike Pence. He described the source as an intelligence official, not a White House official.

House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated his support for Nunes and Nunes himself said all of the controversy was standard for Washington.

"The evidence is now clear that the White House and Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have worked together to halt what was previously billed as a sweeping investigation of Russian interference in last year's election", Lizza wrote. Spicer said the White House never told Yates or her lawyer that it was invoking executive privilege.

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The White House did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment, but Spicer denied that Trump wanted to block Yates' testimony, telling reporters at a Tuesday briefing, "I hope she testifies".

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

Nunes dismissed accusations he has been intentionally delaying his committee's investigation.

"I'd like to know first what the objective of that would be", Nunes told a reporter who asked if he planned to recuse himself from probes involving Russian Federation or Trump.

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. Nunes said Tuesday that he had no plans to step aside.

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

  • Kyle Warner