The Latest: Ex-CIA head says he warned Russia about meddling
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on investigations into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election (all times local):
Former CIA Director John Brennan has told Congress he was so concerned about Russian contacts with people involved in Donald Trump’s campaign that he convened top counterintelligence officials to focus on them. He says he personally warned Russia last summer against interfering in the U.S. presidential election.
Meanwhile, a Senate committee has issued two additional subpoenas to businesses of ousted Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, one of several key figures in the Russia-Trump campaign probe, and sent a letter to his lawyer questioning his basis for claiming a Fifth Amendment right not to provide documents. The letter also narrows the scope of the documents the panel is seeking.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr says the panel may consider a contempt-of-Congress charge if there is no response from Flynn.
The Senate intelligence committee is seeking a narrower batch of documents and information from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn than the panel initially sought in a subpoena.
That’s according to the committee’s Republican chairman, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr says the committee is “very specific” about what it’s asking in an attempt to pressure Flynn to turn over documents.
Flynn’s attorneys had argued the request was too broad, saying if he complied, he would effectively be providing testimony that could be used against him. They made the argument Monday when Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment protection and declined to cooperate with a May 10 subpoena.
That document had asked him to provide a wide array of records regarding his contacts with Russians and Russian business interests.
The Senate intelligence committee says it will subpoena two of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s businesses.
The committee has already subpoenaed Flynn for documents regarding his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. Flynn has refused to hand over that information.
The committee also sent a letter to Flynn’s attorney Tuesday questioning the legal basis of Flynn’s decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment right over a request for documents rather than testimony.
Committee Chairman Richard Burr says senators will wait for Flynn’s response to Tuesday’s requests before they decide the next course of action, including the possibility of a contempt of Congress citation.
The committee is investigating Russia’s campaign meddling and possible ties to President Donald Trump’s associates.
Former CIA Director John Brennan says he can’t say whether there was collusion during the U.S. presidential election between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign, but he knew there was reason to have investigators “pull those threads.”
Brennan was President Barack Obama’s CIA director. He told Congress Tuesday he personally warned Russia last summer against interfering in the election and was so concerned about Russian contacts with people involved in the Trump campaign that he convened top counterintelligence officials to focus on them.
The FBI and congressional committees are investigating such contacts.
President Trump has predicted the investigations won’t find collusion, but his efforts to cast doubt and curb the probes have led to the appointment of a special counsel at the Justice Department.
Former CIA Director John Brennan says he thinks Russia cooperates with WikiLeaks through middlemen.
Brennan told the House intelligence committee on Tuesday that Russia has used intermediaries to work with the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group. The website released material hacked from email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign officials during last year’s presidential campaign.
He says that if someone tracks WikiLeaks’ releases over time, it’s clear that they are often timed to coincide with certain events or to undermine national security.
Brennan says that Russian protests that they are not working with WikiLeaks and WikiLeaks protests that they are not working with the Russians are both “disingenuous.”
John Brennan says that when he was CIA director he shared classified information with Russia and other nations about threats related to terrorism.
But Brennan told the House intelligence committee on Tuesday that President Donald Trump would have violated protocol if he shared such information with Russian officials in the Oval Office spontaneously.
Brennan says such classified information typically shared through intelligence channels, not visiting diplomats.
He also says that before sharing such classified intelligence with foreign partners, the U.S. would go back to the intelligence partner that provided the information to make sure what was shared would not compromise operatives.
A group of Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee has voted against confirming a high-ranking Treasury Department official. They’re protesting what they say is Trump administration’s slow cooperation on the Russia investigations.
Sens. Sherrod Brown, Mark Warner, Elizabeth Warren and several others have voted against Sigal Mandelker as undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. Brown and Warner praised Mandelker, but say they’re frustrated with Treasury’s slowness to turn over documents relating to questionable financial transfers and money laundering.
The protest votes will not change the course of Mandelker’s nomination. The full committee voted 16-7 to move Trump’s pick to the full Senate.
Former CIA Director John Brennan says Russia has a history of trying to “suborn individuals” and he worried last summer about the number of contacts Russian officials were having with Americans.
Brennan was testifying Tuesday before the House intelligence committee about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
He says that last summer he was increasingly concerned that Russian officials were perhaps trying to enlist the cooperation of people in the Trump campaign. Brennan says the contacts raised questions about whether Russia was trying to gain the cooperation of those individuals.
He says he doesn’t know if any collusion occurred between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Former CIA Director John Brennan says he warned Russia against meddling in the presidential election during a call to the head of the Russian intelligence service on Aug. 4.
Brennan told the House intelligence committee on Tuesday that he was the first U.S. official to call out the Russians for their activities. Brennan says he told the head of the FSB that if Russia continued to interfere, it would backfire and prevent any warming of relations.
He says the Russian intelligence official denied that Russia was meddling, but said he would raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Justice Department says Robert Mueller’s work at a law firm that represented relatives and associates of President Donald Trump does not disqualify him from overseeing an FBI investigation into possible ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
The former FBI director was appointed last week to serve as special counsel overseeing a counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.
He left his position at the WilmerHale law firm, whose clients include former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said Tuesday that under professional responsibility rules, Mueller may participate in matters involving his former firm’s clients as long as he wasn’t involved in representing them and has no confidential information about them.
The nation’s intelligence director says he won’t comment on a news report that President Donald Trump asked him to publicly deny any collusion between his campaign and Russia.
Dan Coats is testifying Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
He was asked about a Washington Post that said Trump asked Coats and Michael Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to push back against an FBI investigation that’s been examining potential coordination between Moscow and the presidential campaign.
Coats did not deny the report but said he didn’t want to characterize or comment any private conversations with the president.
Former CIA Director John Brennan is set to testify publicly about the intelligence underpinning the Obama administration’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Brennan could shed light on concerns about the security risk posed by President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Brennan’s testimony before the House intelligence committee on Tuesday comes one day after Flynn invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination in response to a subpoena from the Senate intelligence committee.
Both the Senate and the House intelligence committees are investigating Flynn and other Trump campaign associates as part of probes into Russia’s election meddling. The FBI is also conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign.