Head of Trump-Russia probe under fire, won't step down

He said that "as with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed".

CBS News obtained a letter from the Justice Department to the attorney representing Yates. Some Democrats also questioned whether Nunes disclosed classified information to the press.

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, has agreed to be interviewed by a Senate Intelligence Committee panel as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Many are calling for him to step down from his position on the committee under speculation he's working with Trump.

"I'm told she had some very interesting things to tell the committee, to tell the public, about when she told the White House counsel that Mike Flynn had in fact been lying to the vice president", former CIA Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash said on MSNBC. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the correspondence.

In a press briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer vigorously refuted a Washington Post story suggesting the administration had reason to want Yates not to testify, and that Nunes canceled the hearing to shield the White House from having to invoke executive privilege to keep her from doing so.

"I hope she testifies".

He said the meeting made it look like he is too close to the Trump administration to be objective.


"It moves forward just like it was before", Nunes told reporters. He declined to say what specific information the White House had uncovered, and couldn't say whether Trump himself had been briefed on the materials.

In an interview last August, former national security adviser Michael Flynn acknowledged being paid by Russia's government-backed television network.

The following day, Scott Schools, a senior Justice Department lawyer, replied in a letter to O'Neil, saying the Yates conversations with the White House "are likely covered by the presidential communications privilege and possibly the deliberative process privilege".

"This one is one of the biggest investigations the Hill has seen in my time here", Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said at a news conference with committee vice-chairman Mark Warner. Trump quickly seized on the statements as at least partial vindication for his assertion that President Barack Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower - though Nunes, Schiff and FBI Director James Comey have said there is no such evidence.

Further demonstrating the irreparable breakdown of the HPSCI's ability to conduct a nonpartisan investigation, Rep. Adam Schiff, the panel's top Democrat, issued a stunning statement on Monday in which he called for Nunes to recuse himself-both from the investigation into Russian Federation and any "oversight of matters pertaining to any incidental collection of the Trump transition", of which Nunes served as an executive committee member.

John McCain, speaking of Chairman Nunes - 'He has a lot of explaining to do.' Susan Collins, another Republican senator - 'I believe our Senate investigation has more credibility than the House.' Senator Lindsey Graham on another network says, 'I think he has to fix the damage.

"I believe that the Chairman should recuse himself from any further involvement in the Russian Federation investigation, as well as any involvement in oversight of matters pertaining to any incidental collection of the Trump transition, as he was also a key member of the transition team", Schiff said.

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