Cummings: Nunes Should be Investigated for Trump Revelations
Apr 01 2017 by Joshua Bennett
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., announced Friday that Paul Manafort, former chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, has volunteered to testify in front of the committee.
Nunes' announcement that Manafort, through his lawyer, offered to speak to the committee followed a controversial week in which the California Republican lawmaker personally briefed President Trump about new revelations he said potentially demonstrate that Trump and his campaign aides may have been swept up in legal surveillance activities by the intelligence community during the presidential transition period. Schiff called the postponement a cancellation.
Representative Devin Nunes (R-California) said Friday that he cancelled the public hearing in favor of a closed-session meeting, possibly on March 28, involving the entire committee and the heads of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency.
After Nunes spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill, he went to the White House to tell Trump and spoke to reporters again.
Schiff held a separate press conference where he blamed Nunes for trying to "choke off" public information.
"It's a naked attempt to shut down an open hearing", Himes said. "The point was to cancel a public hearing".
"Has he shown you any of what caused him to suggest that Obama officials doing surveillance captured some Trump campaign associates and unmasked them in the process of investigating?"
Schiff, meanwhile, said that Nunes assertion, even if true, offered no validation of the president's claim. Manafort is said to be a major focus of federal investigations into Trump and his aides' potential ties to Russian Federation.
When asked if Nunes should step down as chairman, Schiff said that's a decision for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). That meeting would push back the public hearing scheduled for Tuesday where three high-profile Obama administration officials were scheduled to testify.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer has said that Manafort "played a very limited role in the campaign".
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has also said he saw no evidence of any collusion, up until the time he left his post in January. When they will now appear before the committee is not known, a committee spokesman said.
Between the two men, there were more than 50 questions they declined to answer during the almost six-hour-long hearing.
Further evidence will be produced to the House Intelligence Committee in its entirety that will "leave no doubt the Obama Administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump".
Manafort has denied any wrongdoing, and the Trump administration has lately sought to minimize Manafort's role as a Trump adviser even though he led his campaign from March to August a year ago, including during the Republican convention.
He said the panel would consult with Manafort's attorney on whether he would testify in public or private. "The details have yet to be worked out". Manafort also volunteered to be interviewed by the Senate intelligence committee, which is conducting its own investigation.
Manafort stepped away from the Trump campaign last summer after the Ukrainian government accused him of having received millions of dollars in secret payments as part of his consulting work for the country's ousted former President, Viktor Yanukovych. In addition, the AP this week reported that Treasury Department officials have obtained financial records from Cyprus relating to Manafort's business dealings with Deripaska. "Because he can not do both".