Published: Sat, April 08, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

US House Speaker backs intelligence panel chair in Russian Federation probe

US House Speaker backs intelligence panel chair in Russian Federation probe

According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.

O'Neil was originally scheduled to testify Tuesday, but on Friday, hours after her attorney sent a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn informing him of what the Justice Department had decided, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) canceled the scheduled hearing, because of course he did.

On Monday, Nunes' spokesman confirmed that the chairman met with a source at the White House grounds to look at reports purportedly showing President Donald Trump or his aides were "incidentally" swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded on Thursday to allegations that two White House staffers secretly provided information to House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA). This time, it's thanks to a new report, which claims that Trump didn't want Yates to testify before Congress about unconfirmed allegations members of his team had colluded with Russian Federation.

The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, Adam Schiff, charged on Tuesday that the White House had interfered behind the scenes to stop Yates from appearing.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said he will continue to lead the investigation even though several committee Democrats questioned his credibility as a close ally of President Donald Trump and his announcement last week he had seen USA surveillance of Trump aides.

It's also unclear why Nunes would go to the White House to seek a secure location to view classified material when members of the committee said there are secure rooms at the Capitol. It's unclear when that testimony will occur. "You can't keep your credibility!" He could have been outing sources within the White House.

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Nunes acknowledged visiting the White House the night before he announced that he had information that some Trump associates may have been snared in incidental intelligence collection before Trump took office on January 20.

After initially defending Trump, Nunes says he does not believe Trump Tower was bugged.

In them, O'Neil pushes back against what he says is Justice Department guidance on what Yates could say about conversations she had with Trump - conversations the department indicated could be covered by executive privilege.

A White House spokesperson called the story "entirely false".

"If there's nothing there, then let everybody testify, let's get all the facts out, and let's do it in a bipartisan fashion the way we are doing it in the Senate", he added.

Democrats and some prominent Republicans have criticized Nunes, a Trump ally, since he announced last week that USA security agencies had collected information on Trump's transition team while conducting legal surveillance on other targets.

Nunes revealed that he had seen secret documents that suggested Trump and his aides had been swept up in US surveillance of foreign targets.

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