SEVERE WX : Heat Advisory View Alerts

House Russia probe poised to break down along partisan lines

Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are on a collision course, as the two sides appear incr...

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 10:29 AM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 10:29 AM

Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are on a collision course, as the two sides appear increasingly likely to issue competing reports coming to starkly different conclusions about the panel's Russia investigation.

GOP leaders on the House panel are eager to wrap up the investigation soon, with influential Republicans saying the exhaustive review has dug through thousands of documents and interviewed virtually every major witness and has found scant evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives to meddle in the 2016 elections.

Republicans on the House panel are eager to wrap up the investigation soon

They're accusing Democrats on the committee of wanting a probe without end

But Democrats on the committee say there have been several areas that have not been fully investigated, including financial records from the Trump Organization and key officials in President Donald Trump's orbit, and that they are seriously weighing issuing their own report detailing what they view as the unexplored parts of the inquiry.

Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, a senior Democrat on the panel, said Tuesday that the committee does not yet fully understand the full extent of the efforts to give Russian dirt to the President's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign foreign policy adviser.

"I think a lot of work remains to be done on who exactly knew what about Don Jr.'s efforts to get dirt and George Papadopoulos' effort to get dirt on the Clinton campaign," Himes told CNN. "Did those efforts stop with those individuals or was it part of the larger effort within the campaign? I don't think we know the answer to that yet."

Trump Jr., who testified before the House panel in December as well as two Senate committees, has said that he was not given dirt on Hillary Clinton during a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, as the meeting was focused on US sanctions on Russia.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California and other Democrats have accused House Republicans of trying to swiftly end the House Intelligence Committee investigation as a precursor to ending special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which is also looking at ties between Russian officials and Trump's team. But Republicans have rejected that attack, saying Democrats appear intent on pursuing an investigation without end.

"This idea this could go on into perpetuity is just nonsense," Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida, a senior Republican on the panel, told CNN last month. "You can interview anybody that's ever met a Russian in the government, and it's not going to help you get any closer to what the four parameters were, what our job is, what the report is supposed to look like, and to put it out there for the American people to consume."

The growing partisan gap over the House investigation makes it increasingly likely that after investigators spent much of 2017 examining connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, the public may lack a definitive assessment about what occurred in 2016.

And increasingly, Democrats are calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan to intervene, arguing he needs to help an investigation that they say is being undercut by the panel's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

"Who can do the most to make sure that this investigation moves forward appropriately? It's the speaker of the House," Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, a member of the House panel, told CNN on Tuesday. "He is facilitating the chairman of the Intelligence Committee's desire to take this investigation to a different place and to hinder the Russia investigation."

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement: "The investigation will conclude when the committee has reached a conclusion. It's clear by the endless political posturing by some House Democrats that they would like to see this investigation go on forever. Whether it concludes next month, next year, or in three years, they'll say it's too soon."

There are still two other Russia investigations occurring in the Senate, and those appear likely to last longer than the House inquiry, though several Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee say the investigation could be reaching its final stages after more than 100 interviews.

Leaders of the House panel still hold out hope that they can release one bipartisan report on the committee's months-long investigation into Russian meddling.

"Hopefully we're working on the same set of facts," said Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican who is running the probe, adding that the panel was starting to draft its report. "But everybody gets to look at the glass and decide if it's half empty or half full."

But members on both sides of the committee are preparing for the reality that their conclusions about the probe will be simply too far apart for a single report.

Conaway said he wants to make as much of the committee's transcripts public as possible so that the people can draw their own conclusions. He argued that the collusion "narrative" seemed to disappear once the public got a definitive sense of what the committee was discussing behind closed doors, pointing to the panel's release of a transcript of a hearing with Carter Page, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser.

"We'll put our conclusions in there, but as you saw with Carter Page, there was a narrative that started that disappeared altogether once the public saw what he really said at the interview," Conaway said.

In his House interview, Page said members of the Trump campaign were aware of his July 2016 trip to Russia, and he disclosed interactions with more Russian government officials beyond what had previously been publicly known.

Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, has increasingly accused the GOP of seeking to shut down the inquiry by cutting off areas to investigate. Schiff has accused the GOP of blocking subpoenas, including to Deutsche Bank, to look into any business ties between the Trump Organization and Russia. And he has said that a number of witnesses have been rushed through the panel before members were ready to query them, calling for major figures close to Trump to return for another round of questioning.

"It's no way of conducting an investigation, not if you're serious about getting the truth," Schiff said late last month. "It's a way to conduct an investigation if you want to give the appearance of legitimacy or you want to bring things to an end. But it's not designed to get at the truth."

Looming over the investigation is House Intelligence Chairman Nunes, who stepped aside from the Russia investigation last spring amid a House Ethics Committee investigation into his handling of classified information. He was cleared by the panel in December.

Even while he stepped aside publicly, Nunes was involved with the Russia probe from the sidelines throughout the year. He retained subpoena power as the chairman and was able to sign off on or block the committee's subpoena and interview requests.

Nunes, who was on Trump's transition team, has insisted that he never stepped aside from the Russia investigation and was always in control, although Conaway said last month that his role leading the probe did not change after Nunes was cleared by the ethics panel.

And while Conaway has said that Nunes issued every request he asked for, the California Republican's presence has rankled Democrats, who have accused Nunes of trying to undermine the committee's probe.

Nunes' fight with the FBI and Justice Department over documents and interviews connected with the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia -- he's threatened to hold top officials in contempt of Congress -- have only amplified those tensions in recent weeks, particularly as Republicans and the President have ramped up their attacks on the Justice Department and Mueller.

"It's not a secret that we have an investigation into DOJ," Nunes told CNN last month.

But Democrats accuse Nunes of trying to undercut the probe, and they believe that Ryan is helping him do so.

"The responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation, or to prevent one, ultimately falls on @SpeakerRyan," Schiff tweeted last month. "I'm concerned he's heeding the calls of Bannon and @POTUS to 'DO SOMETHING' by closing down the Russia investigation & opening up another investigation of Hilary Clinton."

Huntsville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 73°
Florence
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 69°
Fayetteville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 68°
Scottsboro
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 56441

Reported Deaths: 1136
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
Geneva1010
Fayette901
Clay892
Lamar891
Coosa671
Cleburne481
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 65274

Reported Deaths: 749
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby14163224
Davidson13976146
Rutherford375539
Hamilton353538
Sumner204056
Williamson193916
Knox171710
Out of TN166012
Trousdale15105
Wilson126117
Putnam10817
Unassigned10772
Bradley10104
Robertson97313
Sevier9244
Montgomery8247
Tipton7177
Lake6960
Macon6467
Bledsoe6311
Bedford6309
Hamblen5084
Maury4993
Hardeman4444
Madison3842
Fayette3805
Rhea3500
Blount3483
Loudon3312
Dyer3023
McMinn29319
Cheatham2873
Dickson2820
Washington2760
Lawrence2506
Sullivan2485
Cumberland2294
Anderson2112
Gibson2031
Jefferson1931
Lauderdale1934
Smith1852
Warren1590
Greene1572
Monroe1566
Coffee1520
Cocke1460
Haywood1413
Hardin1407
Obion1273
Marshall1232
Wayne1230
Franklin1223
Giles1221
McNairy1171
Hickman1120
Carter1082
Marion1014
DeKalb990
Hawkins952
Lincoln950
White933
Roane880
Henderson830
Chester810
Overton791
Weakley791
Claiborne760
Campbell721
Grundy672
Crockett653
Unicoi600
Grainger590
Cannon580
Carroll571
Polk570
Henry540
Sequatchie520
Jackson500
Johnson490
Humphreys482
Perry430
Meigs400
Decatur350
Morgan341
Fentress290
Scott290
Union280
Stewart270
Clay230
Houston230
Moore230
Benton161
Hancock120
Lewis120
Van Buren90
Pickett80

 

 

Community Events