U.S. Congress probes into Trump campaign members’ possible ties with Russian leadership
The U.S. House Intelligence Committee is conducting an investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump campaign members and the Russian officials –Adam Schiff, a congressman from the Democrats Party stated.
“We’ve reached a written agreement […] that we will investigate allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign,” Schiff stated on air of the MSNBC TV channel.
Devin Nunes, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, confirmed the reports on launching the investigation. “The Intelligence Committee has been investigating Russia for years and warning about the Putin regime’s hostile international actions, its aggression in cyber space, and its influential international propaganda campaigns,” said Devin Nunes, who was a member of Trump’s campaign transition team. In his words, the committee would conduct investigation in all the aforesaid spheres, as well as would consider the issue of Russia’s possible interference in the U.S. 2016 election.
In particular, according to the BBC, the investigation will have to answer the following questions: was Russia’s cyber activity aimed against the USA and its allies, and whether those actions included contacts between Russia and individuals linked to the political campaigns or any other U.S. citizens.
Dan Coats, U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the director of national intelligence, pledged to support thorough investigation of any Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. “I think this is something that needs to be investigated and addressed,” ex-Republican Senator told Senate Intelligence Committee during his confirmation hearing to be the top U.S. intelligence official, on March 1. As Reuters reported, he pledged to ensure full access to all documents and other materials necessary for investigation.
U.S. intelligence officials believe, Russia sought to help Trump win the presidential race by discrediting Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton and her party through cyber attacks. Due to those accusations, 35 Russian diplomats were ousted from the USA by the former U.S. Administration.
Trump flatly denies his campaign members’ links with Moscow.
Michael Flinn, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, had to resign in February, after admitting that he had provided incomplete information about his contacts with Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyakov end of December. Due to his phone calls to Kislyakov, Mike Flinn was suspected of violating the 1798 Logan Act, which bans private US citizens from negotiating with countries with which the US is in dispute.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post found out that U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, met twice with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyakov, before the presidential elections. In particular, Sessions held a meeting with the Russian diplomat in his office, when he was a Senator from the State of Alabama. In addition, the Attorney General contacted Kislyakov in July 2016, when he was a member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, as well as one of the leading national policy advisors to then-candidate for presidency, Donald Trump.
However, when assuming his office, Jeff Sessions claimed, he hadn’t contacted Russian officials to discuss the election campaign. Nansi Pelosi, Democratic House Minority leader, has already called on the Attorney General to quit his post due to his failure to provide information on his contacts with the Russian authorities during the hearings on on his appointment. Sarah Isgur Flores, the U.S. Justice Department spokesperson, in turn, stressed that Sessions hadn’t mentioned any contacts with the Russian envoy, since those meetings had nothing to do with the U.S. election campaign.