As panel questions Trump associates, GOP launches new probes




  • In World/Europe
  • 2017-10-24 21:12:56Z
  • By Mary Clare Jalonick and Chad Day, Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republicans on Tuesday revived familiar themes from the 2016 election, launching new probes looking back at the Obama administration and Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails as close associates of President Donald Trump faced tough questions on Capitol Hill.

The announcements of the investigations by three GOP committees were criticized by Democrats as a "massive diversion" from congressional probes into potential coordination between the Kremlin and associates of the Trump campaign - and from two witnesses close to President Donald Trump that appeared privately before the House intelligence panel for questioning.

Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and his former campaign data director, Brad Parscale, were both interviewed by the House panel behind closed doors Tuesday. Cohen's interview lasted around six hours, while Parscale's interview was ongoing through the afternoon.

Two lawmakers familiar with Cohen's interview said it had been "contentious," but declined to elaborate on what was said. The lawmakers asked not to be identified because the meeting was private.

Cohen, a former executive with the Trump Organization who had been subpoenaed by the House panel earlier this year, was in talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, but ended those negotiations as Trump's White House bid caught fire. In a statement to the Senate intelligence committee in August, Cohen said the proposal was "solely a real estate deal and nothing more."

As Cohen spoke to investigators, Nunes held a news conference outside the room to announce a separate intelligence committee investigation into an Obama-era uranium deal.

Nunes earlier this year stepped back from the committee's investigation into Russian election interference after criticism that he was too close to the White House. But he has continued to be involved with some aspects of it, including signing subpoenas.

Nunes' investigation into the uranium deal will be a joint effort with the House Oversight and Government Reform panel. The oversight committee also announced a second new investigation Tuesday along with the House Judiciary Committee into the FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation and the decision not to prosecute her.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, said the investigations show Republicans' "fundamental lack of seriousness" about Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

"Acting on the urging of the president who has repeatedly denied the intelligence agencies' conclusions regarding Russian involvement in our election, they are designed to distract attention and pursue the president's preferred goal - attacking Clinton and Obama," Schiff said.

Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, the Republican who took over the Russia probe after Nunes stepped back, said the uranium investigation won't be a distraction. "I'm not involved," he said.

Nunes and other Republicans who announced the probe said they want to know more about whether Obama's Department of Justice was investigating the purchase of American uranium mines by a Russian-backed company in 2010. The agreement was reached while Hillary Clinton led the State Department and some investors in the company had relationships with former President Bill Clinton and donated large sums to the Clinton Foundation.

Trump has called the issue, which was also brought up during the campaign, as "the real Russia story." Democrats have dismissed it as widely debunked.

Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight panels also criticized the new investigations, saying in a joint statement that another round of Clinton email investigations are a "massive diversion to distract from the lack of Republican oversight of the Trump administration and the national security threat that Russia poses."

"Apparently, House Republicans are more concerned about Jim Comey than Vladimir Putin," said Michigan Rep. John Conyers and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Ousted FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke at length to Congress about that investigation last year, and it's the subject of an ongoing review by the Justice Department's inspector general. The Judiciary and Oversight panels have declined to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 elections, leaving those probes to Senate committees and the House intelligence committee.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller also is investigating Russia's meddling in the Trump election.

Separately, Nunes has also been embroiled in a legal fight with a Washington political research firm behind a dossier of allegations about Trump's connections to Russia. Nunes signed off on subpoenas that sought the banking records of the firm, Fusion GPS.

A lawyer for the firm said in a statement Tuesday the subpoena was "overly broad" and without any legitimate purposes. The matter is now before a federal judge in Washington.

___

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Kevin Freking also contributed to this report.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Schumer takes back wall offer in new immigration push
Schumer takes back wall offer in new immigration push

WASHINGTON (AP) - Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer has taken back his offer of billions of dollars for President Donald Trump's long-promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.

US Attorney General Sessions questioned in Russia probe
US Attorney General Sessions questioned in Russia probe

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned last week for several hours by investigators probing possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump's election campaign, the Justice Department confirmed Tuesday. Sessions, who like Trump has repeatedly downplayed the idea that Russian

Back to work: Government shutdown ends after Dems relent
Back to work: Government shutdown ends after Dems relent

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump signed a bill reopening the government late Monday, ending a 69-hour display of partisan dysfunction after Democrats reluctantly voted to temporarily pay for resumed operations. They relented in return for Republican assurances that the Senate will soon take up

Democrats, GOP hold out hope for ending government shutdown
Democrats, GOP hold out hope for ending government shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's budget director is holding out hope that feuding Democrats and Republicans in Congress can reach a short-term spending agreement before the start of the workweek Monday, but he worries that the government shutdown could last for several more days if progress

Trump: Senate should change rules if shutdown stalemate continues
Trump: Senate should change rules if shutdown stalemate continues
  • US
  • 2018-01-21 15:01:08Z

By Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that if the government shutdown stalemate continued, Republicans should fund the government by changing Senate rules, which currently require a super-majority for appropriations bills to pass. "The Dems (Democrats) just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Europe

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.