GOP chairmen raise alarms over missing FBI texts

Top House Republicans are fuming over the FBI’s claim that it lost five months of text messages between two top officials that GOP lawmakers have accused of anti-Trump bias.

The officials, former senior counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, have become an increasing focus of President Donald Trump’s allies in Congress, who raised alarms after a previous round of text messages turned over by the Justice Department revealed hostility toward Trump and other political figures.

The FBI had been expected to produce a new batch of texts that included communications after the 2016 presidential election, but the bureau informed lawmakers in a letter over the weekend that "misconfiguration issues" resulted in the texts being lost.

"The omission of text messages between December 2016 and May 2017, a critical gap encompassing the FBI’s Russia investigation, is … concerning," said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, House Oversight Committee Chairman Continue reading “GOP chairmen raise alarms over missing FBI texts”

House GOP won’t show secret Russia memo to Justice Department

House Republicans have refused to share with the Justice Department a secret memo alleging misconduct by federal officials investigating the 2016 Trump campaign’s Russia ties, even they build a case that President Donald Trump should authorize the memo’s public release.

An official at the Justice Department, helmed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein, confirmed to POLITICO on Monday that the department has requested access to the classified document but has not been able to see it. The FBI, too, has been denied access to the document.

Sources familiar with the memo, which was compiled by aides to House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, say it claims that senior FBI officials abused a secret surveillance program, commonly known as FISA, to target the Trump campaign last fall. According to three people who have viewed it, the memo suggests that FBI agents seeking a fall 2016 warrant to Continue reading “House GOP won’t show secret Russia memo to Justice Department”

Senator: FBI missing months of texts between officials involved in Trump, Clinton probes

The FBI is missing five months of text messages between two senior officials who Republicans on Capitol Hill have accused of political bias, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) revealed in a letter to the bureau made public on Sunday.

Republicans have been scrutinizing the text messages between senior counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page as part of their inquiry into whether bias infected the bureau’s investigations into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state and into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

Johnson, who leads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote to FBI Director Chris Wray with questions about the missing communication, which he said spanned Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017, the day Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

In his letter — delivered Saturday — Johnson said correspondence from the Continue reading “Senator: FBI missing months of texts between officials involved in Trump, Clinton probes”

Bannon refused to answer House panel’s questions about time in White House

President Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon refused to answer questions Tuesday from the House intelligence committee about his time in the White House, prompting panel members to subpoena him on the spot, according to a person familiar with the interview.

Bannon appeared before the committee as part of its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, speaking just weeks after a falling-out with Trump over comments he made in an explosive new book.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday that he issued a subpoena for Bannon.

“Of course I authorized the subpoena," he told reporters. "That’s how the rules work.”

According to the person familiar with the interview, Bannon’s attorney told the committee he wouldn’t discuss anything about his time in the White House or during the transition after the 2016 election. During that period, Trump allegedly sought a pledge of loyalty from then-FBI Director Continue reading “Bannon refused to answer House panel’s questions about time in White House”

Congress tries to cool partisan fever on Russia

Top Russia investigators in Congress are straining to salvage some bipartisan cooperation amid acrimony that has come to threaten the credibility of their probes.

Partisan anger has unsettled Russia inquiries by the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee, but senior members of those panels say they hope to restore a sense of trust within their ranks. And Senate intelligence committee leaders are stressing their relative political unity in an increasingly hostile environment.

But despite hopeful signals hopeful signals from lawmakers and aides of both parties about a return to cooperation, any bipartisan hopes will be sorely tested in the coming weeks — particularly as Democrats raise the volume on concerns that Congress has not taken action to prevent new Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections. Some senior Democrats are also insisting that key Trump associates be called to give more testimony before Republicans wind down the probes.

Still, Continue reading “Congress tries to cool partisan fever on Russia”

Schiff: It would be ‘valuable’ if Ivanka Trump testified in Russia probe

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday that it would be "valuable" for President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior aide Ivanka Trump to testify in the panel’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"I think it would be valuable to have her come and testify before the committee," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said at the Capitol.

Schiff told reporters that there are still dozens of witnesses the panel needs to bring in to ensure a complete understanding of the Russian plot and whether anyone in the president’s orbit assisted with the effort.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Ivanka Trump mighty have come into contact with participants in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Kremlin-linked Russians and senior members of the Trump campaign. The story suggested she bumped into the participants as they exited the meeting, an interaction that could Continue reading “Schiff: It would be ‘valuable’ if Ivanka Trump testified in Russia probe”

Trump says GOP should ‘finally take control’ of Russia investigation

President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Republicans in Congress to "take control" of the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, prompting some head-scratching from a top GOP investigator on Capitol Hill.

"The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues," Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. "There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion, & yet on and on it goes. Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. Republicans should finally take control!"

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he didn’t know what the president meant.

“I don’t know what the president has in mind, and I don’t think I better comment until I have a discussion with the president on that that,” Grassley said when asked by reporters.

Then, seemingly catching himself, Grassley added: “And I don’t intend to have a discussion with the president Continue reading “Trump says GOP should ‘finally take control’ of Russia investigation”