Friday, 22 February, 2019

Democrat Schiff draws Trump ire with House intel probes

Trump spoke to a joint session of the US Congress facing political discord over his demands that Democrats end their opposition to funding for a US-Mexico border wall Trump calls for an end to investigations of his administration
Leonard Rios | 07 February, 2019, 04:42

Schiff, who chairs the Intelligence Committee, plans to resume the panel's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"The President's actions and posture towards Russian Federation during the campaign, transition, and administration have only heightened fears of foreign financial or other leverage over President Trump and underscore the need to determine whether he or those in his Administration have acted in service of foreign interests since taking office", Schiff said in a statement announcing the expanded investigation. Devin Nunes, Schiff's Republican counterpart, called on the committee Wednesday to make public all unclassified interview transcripts from the investigation. After Cohen pleaded guilty to the Mueller charges on November 29, Trump called his former lawyer a liar, "a weak person and not a very smart person".

Schiff also told reporters Wednesday that the House Intelligence Committee will not be "intimidated or threatened" by Trump's comments.

Schiff said the investigation, which could involve additional congressional committees, would "allow us to investigate any credible allegation that financial interests or other interests are driving decision-making of the President or anyone in the administration".

The Committee also voted to release all investigative transcripts to the public in order to provide us "with greater transparency and insight into Russia's operations and the USA government's response".

The committee published its investigative plan after members voted unanimously to give Special Counsel Robert Mueller copies of all the interviews the committee conducted during its GOP-led probe.

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The intelligence panel's new chairman, California Rep. Adam Schiff, had long said that sending Mueller the transcripts from the probe into Russian election interference would be one of his first actions.

Cohen begins a three-year prison sentence in March after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations and lying to Congress. Cohen is still expected to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a closed-door interview next Wednesday. But Schiff said Wednesday morning that the interview had been postponed to February 28 "in the interests of the investigation". Stone is also charged with obstructing the House probe by encouraging one of his associates, NY radio host Randy Credico, to refuse to testify before the House panel in an effort to hide Stone's false statements.

It is unclear if Mueller has since requested any other transcripts, or if he has already seen any of them.

Democrats also opposed a Republican motion at the meeting Wednesday to subpoena several witnesses.

Among the transcripts that would be released would be of interviews with Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; his longtime spokeswoman, Hope Hicks; and his former bodyguard Keith Schiller.

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