Schiff asks if White House put off intel hearing


Nunes then spoke to reporters and said that he had "confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition".

After she was sacked, it was revealed that Yates had notified the White House that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn had not properly explained his contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Spicer berated White House reporters for focusing on substance when illegal leaks appeared damaging to the Trump administration, but targeting the messenger rather than the message when legal leaks vindicated the White House. Not only that but the Russians' knowledge about what Flynn had said left him open to blackmail, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned.

"The Department of Justice has advised that it believes there are further constraints on the testimony Ms. Yates may provide at the [Intelligence Committee] hearing".

Asked if he should recuse himself, committee chairman Devin Nunes responded, "Why would I?"

He also was upset they were ignoring what appears to be a real and growing scandal, the revelation by House Intelligence chair Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., that he has seen information confirming the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team.

Critics say that Nunes' disclosure was an effort to justify Trump's unfounded accusations this month that his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, had directed surveillance on Trump Tower during the election campaign.

Nor would he disclose who invited him on the White House grounds for the meeting. Nope, says Nunes, and Trey Gowdy, and Paul Ryan, predictably.

Why did Nunes have to come to the White House to see the information?

Schiff and a few key Republicans, including Arizona Sen.

We're still a long way from Republicans abandoning Trump on the Russian Federation scandal, and it may take a shocking development or two to get us from here to there.

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"I'll be glad to check on that", Spicer said.

Schiff said Nunes' connections to the White House have raised insurmountable public doubts about whether the committee could credibly investigate the president's campaign associates. US intelligence officials have described Kislyak as a top spy and recruiter for Russian Federation.

The ensuing days saw Nunes brief Trump privately on new information of potential surveillance of Trump's aides before telling Democrats on the investigation.

That's how White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer just characterized a Washington Post article that charges The White House tried "to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in the House investigation of links between Russian officials and Donald Trump's presidential campaign". The same day, Nunes announced that he would cancel the scheduled hearing - making it unnecessary for the White House to assert executive privilege at all. Nunes then apologized to Democrats, but the following day he canceled Tuesday's public hearing, saying he wanted to hear from Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers in private, prompting outrage from Democrats.

"Sally Yates had a big role to play in why this hearing was canceled", Schiff said. She could have discussed the details about what the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department knew about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's talks with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Schiff said. We have no problem with her testifying, plain and simple.

Mr Spicer said the White House had not responded to that letter, an indication he said, that the Trump administration had not sought to stop her speaking.

But Spicer maintains that the reporting is completely inaccurate.

In a statement Tuesday, he said: "The Washington Post story is entirely false".

Flynn left the administration in February after acknowledging that he had not given the White House a full account of his conversations with Kislyak. Trump fired her over a separate issue - Yates told the Justice Department's attorneys not to defend in court Trump's order restricting travel from some Muslim-majority countries.

He arranged meetings between Trump and leaders from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.