Russian Federation controversy deepens amid reports of White House meddling

The White House tried to block a top lawyer sacked by Trump from testifying in Congress about his campaign's ties to Russian Federation, the Washington Post reports.

Spicer tweeted a denial of the story earlier this morning.

"I'm told she had some very interesting things to tell the committee, to tell the public, about when she told the White House counsel that Mike Flynn had in fact been lying to the vice president", former CIA Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash said on MSNBC.

In a series of letters, the Justice Department argued that Yates should not testify because the information she could provide the committee was covered by presidential communications privilege, the Post found. Some of Nunes' fellow Republicans have questioned his objectivity after he made a controversial announcement last week about US spy agency surveillance.

The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, confirmed during a news conference later Thursday that he was invited to the White House to view intelligence documents, but in a public reply to the White House he expressed "profound concern" with the way the materials were being made available to the committee.

Citing several letters seen by The Post, the newspaper reports the White House said Yates was bound by attorney-client privilege and could not reveal certain details to Congress. "I look forward to it", Spicer said during the White House briefing. The source said her testimony would have contradicted statements by the White House about these events.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he was "aware that former AG Yates meant to speak on these matters and sought permission to testify from the White House".

Yates was eventually fired after she refused to defend the president's travel ban in court.

Watch Spicer's statement above.

The postponed Yates testimony serves as the latest wrinkle in an ongoing saga over the committee's investigation, and Nunes' handling of the situation will raise further questions over his impartiality and add more blood to the water for Democrats already convinced that Republican partisanship is threatening the integrity of the investigation.

Republicans on the committee publicly continued to back him. "The committee asked her to testify on our own accord and we still intend to have her speak to us", Langer said.

Yates, an Obama appointee who was sacked in late January, also reportedly believed that the White House has made inaccurate statements about how it handled Flynn's firing.

Nunes, who was a member of the team that ran Trump's transition to the presidency after the November 8 election, told reporters on Tuesday the House panel's investigation was moving forward.

A Nunes spokesman said the congressman got his information from a source on the White House grounds.

US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) briefs reporters at the US Capitol in Washington, US, March 24, 2017.

Controversy surrounding the Trump administration's potential ties to Russian Federation increased on Tuesday following new reports of White House interference.



Other news