Lawyer: Administration moved to squelch testimony

The Washington Post first reported the letters.

It's perfectly normal for members of the House Intelligence Committee to go to the White House grounds once or twice a week because it has classified documents that committee members can only view there.

A lawyer for former deputy attorney general Sally Yates says in letters last week that the Trump administration had moved to squelch her testimony in a hearing about Russian meddling in the presidential election. John McCain (R-Ariz.), also didn't hesitate to go after Nunes.

The closed-door hearing with the two officials was then postponed on Monday. The lawmaker acknowledged visiting the White House before making the announcement but has declined to say who he met there. Not only that but the Russians' knowledge about what Flynn had said left him open to blackmail, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned.

Earlier today, Sean Spicer dismissed as "100 percent false" a Washington Post report which stated that the White House sought to block Yates from testifying to Congress.

"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".

Nearly as soon as that story appeared, the White House denied it. Spokesman Sean Spicer called it "entirely false". Later, in a briefing with reporters, he was given a chance to clarify more broadly - so executive privilege would not be an issue for Yates?

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After reviewing the information last week, Nunes called a news conference to announce that US spy agencies may have inadvertently captured Trump and his associates in the routine targeting of foreigners' communications.

Nunes announced last week without providing a source that he had information Trump associates may have been ensnared in incidental intelligence collection before the president took office in January. Is he a White House surrogate or the head of an adversarial committee in a rival, independent branch charged with checking the president?

In the understatement of the week, thePost's Aaron Blake said "Nunes isn't very good at this".

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

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.

"That leadership is long overdue", she said.

The hearing would have been another public airing of the infighting within the committee. Did he do so at the behest of the White House? Yup, say Democrats, predictably.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on House Speaker Ryan to replace Nunes as chairman of the intelligence committee. Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the committee chairman, then canceled that hearing and another closed session that was supposed to have taken its place. If a woman sits down at your table and tells you she's a lawyer who likes to relax with a little poker, and introduces herself as Sally Yates, run like hell and don't stop until you get to the Arctic Circle.

"I've been around for quite a while, and I've never heard of any such thing", McCain said of Nunes' behavior in an appearance on CBS Tuesday morning. "She need not obtain separate consent from the department".

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

Yates notified the White House shortly after Trump was inaugurated that Flynn was the target of an FBI investigation and may have been subject to Russian blackmail because he hadn't told the truth about his discussions with Kislyak.

Later that month, Yates was sacked from the Trump administration after informing the Justice Department that she would refuse to comply with the White House's executive order prohibiting travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the entry of Syrian refugees.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a member of the House intelligence committee, is calling on Chairman Devin Nunes to step down from the panel.

The House is also "off track" with the investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election, Graham said, adding that the "only way this can be repaired is if [Nunes] tells his colleagues what he saw". Nunes said on Tuesday he would not.

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Schiff and some Republicans, including Arizona Sen. This is the House's de facto chief investigator into the Russiagate matter, which involves the question of whether Russian officials were coordinating with Trump associates during the campaign.


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