Published: Wed, April 26, 2017
USA | By Yvette Dunn

US Congress investigates links between Trump and Russia


"As a former military officer, you simply can not take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else".

Maine's two members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence defended the pace of a probe into Russian election interference and alleged collusion between Russia and associates of President Donald Trump.

Katko, R-Camillus, said he rejects the idea touted in local radio ads from a Democratic super PAC that the investigation should go straight to a special commission outside of Congress, bypassing the committees.

The first public hearing the committee held with the two intelligence chiefs featured Comey confirming the FBI's investigation into Russia's possible interference as well as potential ties to the Trump campaign.

But GOP Sens. James Lankford (Okla.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSchumer: Senate Russia probe moving too slowly Collins: I'm not working with Freedom Caucus chairman on healthcare Mexico: Recent deportations "a violation" of U.S. immigration rules MORE (Maine) have defended the committee's work. "Americans are getting most info from leaks and false tweets".

But Nunes stepped aside, and now, under Rep. Mike Conaway, a Republican working with California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee appears to be back on track.

The frustrations appear far from boiling over into the dysfunction that nearly derailed the House Intelligence Committee's investigation a month ago.

A Senate Democrat told CNN a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday helped clear the air among members after a round of stories criticizing the pace of the Russian Federation investigation and staffing levels, along with some criticism directed at Burr. Chaffetz announced last week that he would not run for re-election in 2018, and said he might leave office even before the end of his term. Nobody from the House oversight committee is literally prosecuting Flynn, but they have been digging into his foreign payments from RT-TV, a Russian state news outlet, and a company tied to the Turkish government.

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Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, and Yates, the former deputy attorney general, will testify on May 8 before the subcommittee on crime and terrorism, Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley said in a statement.

Through it all, the White House is largely refusing to cooperate with the investigations - particularly into Flynn.

Republican chair Devin Nunes caught himself up in a scandal after he tried to defend the president's wiretapping claims with information obtained covertly from the White House. "If they come out and say that based on what we've seen this is much to do about nothing, I'll be surprised, but I'll support that as well". Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in an email response to questions.

King says he isn't aware of any partisan delays.

Wyden sent a letter last month to Burr and Warner requesting that the probe include a thorough review of any financial ties between Russian Federation and Trump and his associates.

"I give Sen. Warner some time and credence to try to work those things out, but things have moved too slowly for my taste and, I think, a lot of members of the committee's taste", he added.

When Kushner first submitted his forms to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he left the section about foreign contacts blank - despite the fact that he had met with a large number of foreign emissaries and leaders once Donald Trump became the President-elect and he became the point man for worldwide contacts for the incoming Trump administration.

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