A closer appear at congressional probes into Russia

On Capitol Hill, it seems that not a day goes by with out a different lawmaker -- usually but not often a Democrat -- calling for an investigation, unique prosecutor or independent commission to delve into the alleged contacts involving the Trump campaign,...

A closer appear at congressional probes into Russia

On Capitol Hill, it seems that not a day goes by with out a different lawmaker -- usually but not often a Democrat -- calling for an investigation, unique prosecutor or independent commission to delve into the alleged contacts involving the Trump campaign, transition and administration and Russian government officials.

Sources have told ABC News that U.S. authorities were probing communications in between the associates and suspected members of the Russian intelligence neighborhood ahead of the election, allegations Trump has repeatedly decried as "fake news." An FBI probe into the matter is ongoing.

Beneath is a appear at the existing congressional probes connected to the alleged contacts, into Russia, which the intelligence neighborhood concluded orchestrated an elaborate campaign to interfere in the 2016 election, as properly as the leaks to the media surrounding the stories.

Senate Intelligence Committee

Chairman Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, gave the initially public details on his panel’s inquiry on Dec. 16, ahead of Trump was sworn in. The probe was prompted by, according to Burr’s statement, “the underpinnings of the intelligence” that prompted the intelligence neighborhood to release a statement in October that stated it “is confident that the Russian Government directed the current compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” It later revised its mission statement to encompass the revelations from a a lot more detailed January assessment of Russia hacking. Republican leaders have also stated they count on the committee to contact former national security adviser Gen. Mike Flynn to testify about his contacts with Russian officials. Flynn resigned immediately after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the contacts. Democrats are criticizing Burr this week over revelations that the White Home communicated with Burr and his Property counterpart to rebut reports that Trump associates had contacts with Russian officials for the duration of the campaign. More than the weekend, Sen. Mark Warner, the leading Democrat on the panel, mentioned in a statement, “I have mentioned from the extremely starting of this matter that if SSCI cannot correctly conduct an independent investigation, I will assistance empowering whoever can do it correct."

Property Intelligence Committee

This panel, overseen by Chairman Devin Nunes, by no means announced a separate investigation of Russia’s actions, but acknowledged in early December that the committee had been “closely monitoring Russia’s belligerence for years.” Nunes also noted that it has been searching into the underlying intelligence that prompted the conclusions in the intelligence community’s January assessment, such as Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election. Nunes, a Trump transition adviser, has diverged from the Senate Intelligence Committee in saying he has no plans to investigate Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials, saying in mid-February that “we’re not supposed to be listening to American telephone calls.” He has stated that he wants the FBI to investigate the leaks that have led to public reports about Trump officials' alleged contacts with suspected Russian officials. Nunes mentioned Monday that his committee is in the early stages of its function, but that his preliminary communication with the Intelligence Neighborhood has yielded no proof of contacts among the Trump campaign and the Russian government, while he admitted that “that doesn’t imply they do not exist.” But California Rep. Adam Schiff stated that the committee has referred to as no witnesses or interviewed the FBI. “We have not reached a conclusion, nor must we, on concerns of collusion mainly because we have not interviewed a single witness or reviewed a single document,” Schiff stated.

Senate Armed Solutions Committee

While this committee, headed by John McCain, is not formally investigating Russia’s interference in the election, as is the Intelligence Committee, McCain has resolved to make cybersecurity, and by extension Russia’s hacking, a significant concentrate. “It’s all component of the larger concern of the cyber threat that we face from Russia, China and other countries. It’s one more type of warfare,” McCain mentioned on CBS in December. The committee held a hearing final month, in the course of which Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked by Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill about the president’s statements that appeared to “trash the intelligence community,” like when he questioned their veracity by citing their in the end incorrect assessment that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction. “There's a distinction amongst skepticism and disparagement,” Clapper said through the Jan. five hearing.

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism

At the beginning of the month, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse, the chairman and leading Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee, announced they would be investigating Russian efforts to influence democratic elections in the United States and abroad. “Our goal is straightforward – to the fullest extent achievable we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy. Though some of our efforts will have to be held behind closed doors due to safety concerns, we also hope to have an open discussion before the American individuals about Russia’s approaches to undermine democracy,” the two stated in a statement.

Home Oversight/Judiciary Committees

The chairmen of the two panels, Jason Chaffetz and Bob Goodlatte, have urged the Division of Justice Inspector Basic to investigate the leaks surrounding the Flynn calls with Russian officials, even though they also say they are not interested in investigating Flynn himself. “We have serious concerns about the prospective inadequate protection of classified facts here,” they wrote to the DOJ IG on Feb. 15, two days following Flynn resigned. Chaffetz and his Oversight Ranking Member, Elijah Cummings, are also searching into Flynn’s speaking engagements in Russia in 2014 and 2015 to decide the quantity and source of any funding he received to appear, and regardless of whether he received payments from foreign sources, which would be in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. Chaffetz has also stressed the want to look into the leaks of sensitive data from within the intelligence neighborhood.

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