The U.S. congressional committee tasked with investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign has asked the heads of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency to testify again about the matter, the head of the committee said Friday.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee investigating links between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's presidential campaign, told The Chronicle Friday that it's hard to have confidence in the panel's GOP chairman because he has been "providing political cover" to the White House.
Nunes canceled the public hearing, and then held a news conference to announce President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort had "volunteered" to be interviewed by the committee. Schiff called the postponement a cancellation.
According to Nunes, former National Intelligence Committee director James Clapper, former CIA director John Brennan and former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates have all agreed to provide testimony on whether the Obama Administration was investigating members of Donald Trump's campaign team for their ties to Russian Federation.
"I don't think he's shared it with anyone on the committee, and so we're all quite in the dark on this", he said. "The point was to cancel a public hearing".
"What happened here is you had legal surveillance, probably wiretapping of foreigners talking to foreigners", the New York Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program. "We know there was not a physical wiretap of Trump Tower", Nunes said at the time. Both are Trump associates who have been under scrutiny - Stone for alleged collusion with Wikileaks and Page for trips to Russian Federation, among other things. His work for Yanukovych is reportedly under investigation by the FBI over questions about whether it was in compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, confirmed that he has also not been briefed on the information that Nunes has.More news: Previewing the Essex Vase greyhound racing extravaganza
Nunes said the two were being recalled to be interviewed behind closed doors on matters that weren't fully addressed in the committee's open hearing on Monday or in documents recently received by the committee.
Schiff said Wednesday that Nunes will need to decide whether he's running a truly independent inquiry or is a "White House surrogate".
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has also said he saw no evidence of any collusion, up until the time he left his post in January.
"Mr. Stone deeply resents that several members of your Permanent Select Committee have intimated that he has committed treason in his political, press and social media activities", the letter states. "But it's necessary to get both of them back down here before we can move on to other issues".
"There are just questions that we have. that they just couldn't answer in a public setting", he said. Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March and was promoted to the role of campaign manager in March when former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was sacked.
Manafort resigned as Trump's campaign chief in August 2016 following reports of illicit payments related to his previous work for the political party of Ukraine's pro-Russian former president, Viktor Yanukovych.
A Republican intelligence committee aide said on Thursday that Nunes had apologized to Democrats on the panel. "The details have yet to be worked out".