The House Intelligence Committee will investigate ties concerning members of Trump’s campaign team and the Russian government as part of a larger probe into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election. This information was released late Wednesday evening.
SCOPE OF INVESTIGATION
The 6-page document outlining the scope of the committee’s investigation is classified, Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in an announcement Wednesday night. But the statement said the investigation will focus on the following questions:
- What Russian cyber-activity and other active measures were directed against the United States and its allies?
- Did the Russian active measures include links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns or any other U.S. persons?
- What was the U.S. government’s response to these Russian active measures and what do we need to do to protect ourselves and our allies in the future?
- What possible leaks of classified information took place related to the Intelligence Community Assessment of these matters?
The outline of the investigation signifies a compromise between Democrats, who have pressed for more info about likely ties between the president and the Kremlin, and Republicans, who have wanted to tone down the intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow hacked Democratic entities with the goal of helping Trump win the election.
Nunes, a fervent Trump supporter, warned Monday against leading a “witch hunt” against the President and Russia, and he recommended that the committee should emphasis on rooting out the source of government leaks, that helped bring scandal to light.
The committee will:
- Conduct interviews;
- Take witness testimony;
- Review the material.
All well as any other material that reinforced the intelligence community’s January results that Russian cyber-activity was directed at boosting Trump’s odds of becoming president. It will also review the intelligence community’s “analytic standards” and examine the “leaks of classified information,” according to the statement.
FBI LED INVESTIGATION
Law and Intelligence officials working on an FBI-led investigation found that members of Trump’s campaign team had recurring contact with Russian intelligence officials in the months before the election, The New York Times reported. The Trump administration and the campaign officials mentioned in the Times report denies any misconduct. Trump said on Monday that he hasn’t “called Russia in 10 years.” He visited the country in 2013.
ALSO SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
The House Intelligence panel’s investigation will occur together with a separate concurrent investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee. But Democrats fear that Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress, could restrict the inquiries.
Republican leadership has so far battled calls for a bipartisan select committee, which would give Democrats a greater capacity to subpoena witnesses and preserve records acquired in the investigation.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who headed Trump’s national security advisory committee during the campaign, has been unclear about whether he will step aside and appoint an ‘independent prosecutor’ to head the Justice Department’s investigation into supposed communications between members of the president’s campaign team and Moscow.
Also is seems that Sessions spoke twice with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. last year, The Washington Post reported Wednesday night. He did not reveal those discussions to lawmakers when asked what he would do if he came across indication of communications between members of the Trump team and the Russian government during the campaign.
“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he said during his January confirmation hearing. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
Officials of the Justice Department told The Washington Post that Sessions met with the Russian ambassador in his role as a lawmaker, not in his ability as a Trump campaign adviser. Still, the exposés will likely increase the shadow of impropriety of Sessions nagement of the investigation.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who backed Trump in the election, joined Democrats last Friday in calling on Sessions to turn this investigation to an ‘independent prosecutor’.
“Any review conducted must have the full confidence of the American people, which is why I recommended an independent review.”
- Trump Team’s Ties To Russia Face Sharper Scrutiny Amid New House Probe And Explosive Reports – Huff Post
- Congress’ Trump Russia probe takes partisan turn – Reuters
- Republicans torn over how to handle probe of potential Trump, Russia ties– Middletown Press