The Latest: Dems alarmed by report on Trump, intel bosses
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on ongoing investigations into Russia’s alleged interference with the U.S. election (all times local):
Democrats are expressing alarm at a report alleging that President Donald Trump asked two top intelligence officials to publicly deny collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, says The Washington Post’s report that Trump tried to enlist the head of the National Security Agency and the national intelligence director to push the White House narrative is a “disturbing allegation” that Trump is interfering with the FBI probe.
Schiff says the officials involved should testify before Congress and lawmakers must request any memos documenting the conversations.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says the newspaper’s report Monday is an indication that Trump is trying to impede the investigation.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says he will postpone a hearing scheduled for Wednesday after speaking with former FBI Director James Comey.
Chaffetz said in a tweet Monday that Comey “wants to speak with Special Counsel (Robert Mueller) prior to public testimony.”
Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, has requested that the FBI turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between Comey and President Donald Trump.
Chaffetz says he wants to determine whether the president attempted to influence or impede the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Chaffetz had invited Comey to speak at Wednesday’s hearing. The former FBI head has agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee after Memorial Day.
The top two members of the Senate intelligence committee say they will “vigorously pursue” the testimony of President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, even though Michael Flynn has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Mark Warner of Virginia say they are disappointed that Flynn has decided to ignore the committee’s subpoena. Earlier this month, the committee asked Flynn and other Trump associates for lists of meetings and notes taken during the presidential campaign.
The Senate intelligence committee is among the congressional panels investigating Russia’s election meddling and possible ties with the Trump campaign. The FBI is also investigating.
The top Democrat on a House oversight committee says documents he’s reviewed suggest that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to federal security clearance investigators about the source of payments Flynn received from a Russian state-sponsored television network.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland says Flynn told the investigators during an early 2016 security clearance review that a trip to Moscow was “funded by U.S. companies.” Cummings says the actual source of the funds was “the Russian media propaganda arm, RT.”
Cummings made the statements in a letter to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican and chairman of the House oversight committee. Cummings’ letter came the same day Flynn declined to provide documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.
Attorneys for Michael Flynn say that a daily “escalating public frenzy against him” and the Justice Department’s appointment of a special counsel have created a legally dangerous environment for him to cooperate with a Senate investigation.
That’s according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press that was written on behalf of the former national security adviser under President Donald Trump. The letter, sent Monday by Flynn’s legal team to the Senate Intelligence committee, lays out the case for Flynn to invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and his decision not to produce documents in response to a congressional subpoena.
The letter says that the current context of the Senate’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election threatens that “any testimony he provides could be used against him.”
A Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee says “we will get to the truth one way or another” even though former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is citing Fifth Amendment protections in the panel’s investigation into Russia.
Sen. James Lankford tweeted that it is Flynn’s right to invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination as part of the probe into interference in the 2016 elections.
The Oklahoma lawmaker tweeted: “We need facts, not speculation & anonymous sources.”
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Flynn’s move was “unfortunate but not unexpected” and the committee would gain information in other ways.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter says Flynn is citing Fifth Amendment protections. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss private interactions.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination on Monday as he notifies the Senate Intelligence committee that he will not comply with a subpoena seeking documents.
That’s according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private interactions between Flynn and the committee.
Flynn’s decision comes less than two weeks after the committee issued a subpoena for Flynn’s documents as part of the panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
Legal experts have said Flynn was unlikely to turn over the personal documents without immunity because he would be waiving some of his constitutional protections by doing so. Flynn has previously sought immunity from “unfair prosecution” to cooperate with the committee.
—AP reporter Chad Day