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Russian Federation ties: Senate pledges thorough inquiry

31 March 2017

President Trump is calling the investigations of his campaign's ties with Russian Federation a "hoax" - even though his national security adviser and his campaign chairman were fired over it.

Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, says he went onto the grounds because he needed a secure location where he could access the reports, which are only distributed within the executive branch.

The top Republican in Congress on Tuesday stood by Devin Nunes, an ally of President Donald Trump who heads the House of Representatives intelligence committee and is under fire for his handling of an investigation into possible Russian ties to Trump's election campaign. Chris Christie admitted he didn't agree with Nunes' actions but said recusal is a "personal decision".

He has not named his source and did not indicate that it was from the White House itself. "The White House isn't stopping her".

A number of recent presidents including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama had mixed success with their own initiatives to reinvent or streamline government using suggestions from the private sector.

Last week, it was revealed that Nunes was unsure whether associates of Trump participated in the intercepted communications or whether those persons were simply mentioned or referred to by others.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Wednesday told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Dunes (R-CA) has no responded to multiple requests to reschedule the planned public testimony of former Directer of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA chief John Brennan and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

The hearing would have been another public airing of the infighting within the committee.

US Secretary of State Tillerson in Turkey for talks
After Turkey , Tillerson will leave for Brussels for a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers. Planning for that fight has highlighted the complicated nature of the conflict in Syria and the many players involved.

The letters from lawyer David O'Neil, published by The Washington Post, appeared to be in response to a meeting O'Neil had at the Justice Department on March 23 in advance of the hearing. He will continue to serve in the other roles even as he takes up the new duties, the White House said. At the meeting, O'Neil presented a letter in which he said the Justice Department had "advised" him that Yates' official communications on issues of interest to the House panel are "client confidences" that can not be disclosed without written consent.

Mr Spicer told journalists that the White House had "encouraged" Ms Yates, who was sacked by the president for not backing his travel ban, to give evidence.

Sean Spicer angrily dismissed inquiries about the matter Tuesday, declaring that "every single person who's been briefed on this, as I've said ad nauseam from this podium ... have been very clear that there is no connection between the president or the staff here and anyone doing anything with Russian Federation".

Yates, an Obama administration appointee, was sacked by Trump on January 30 after she instructed the Justice Department not to defend his controversial executive order limiting travel and immigration from seven countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Yates, who was sacked in January as acting attorney general after she refused to defend the Trump administration travel ban, was expected to be questioned about her role in the firing of Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Already at odds with President Trump, Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent has waded into the fraught investigations into Russia's meddling in November's election, saying his House colleagues are "paralyzed" and calling on the Senate to take the lead in the inquiry.

Since then, leading Democrats have called on Nunes to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation.