Politics: Senate intel committee grilling ex-Trump campaign members in Russia probe - PressFrom - US

PoliticsSenate intel committee grilling ex-Trump campaign members in Russia probe

02:05  12 january  2019
02:05  12 january  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

Russian lawyer in Trump probe denies US charges against her

Russian lawyer in Trump probe denies US charges against her The Russian lawyer at the heart of the investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump's election campaign and Russia has rejected the U.S. charges leveled against her. Natalya Veselnitskaya, who attended the 2016 Trump Tower meeting that is a focus of the U.S. investigation, was charged Tuesday in the U.S. with obstruction in an unrelated tax-fraud case. U.S. prosecutors said she teamed up with a senior Russian prosecutor and submitted deceptive declarations in the civil case involving a Russian tax refund fraud scheme.

The Senate intelligence committee interviewed Sam Nunberg Friday, asking questions about Trump 's business dealings and how he formulated his Russia Sam Nunberg, a former Donald Trump campaign aide, appears on The Beat with Ari Melber on March 5, 2018.Jeenah Moon / for NBC News.

The Senate committee 's conclusion is at odds with that of Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee , which criticized the Russia , with the knowledge and at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, intervened in the 2016 presidential election in favor of President Trump , the Senate

Senate intel committee grilling ex-Trump campaign members in Russia probe© Jeenah Moon Image: Former Donald Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg

Senate intelligence committee investigators are interviewing former members of President Donald Trump's campaign as they hunt for evidence of possible collusion with Russia, asking one witness Friday fresh questions about the president's business dealings and how he formulated his policies toward Moscow.

Sam Nunberg, who worked for Trump and his campaign in 2015, said he was questioned in a closed-door session on Capitol Hill about Trump's trip to Moscow in 2013, his company's interest in building a tower there and specific relationships between past members of the campaign and foreign actors who may have worked with Russia.

House Dems to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. first in Russia probe

House Dems to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. first in Russia probe Democrats probing allegations that the Trump campaign worked with Russians to win the election plan to issue their first subpoena to Donald Trump Jr., according to a top lawmaker. Rep. Jackie Speier, a key member of the House Intelligence Committee, asked Tuesday night about who would be served first by the panel as it reopens the investigation, said, “Donald Trump Jr.” require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

WASHINGTON — President Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee , to end the panel’s investigation into Russia ’s interference in the 2016 election, according to a half dozen lawmakers and aides.

Former CIA Director John Brennan told House Russia investigators Tuesday that Russia "brazenly interfered" in US elections, including actively contacting members of the President Donald Trump 's campaign -- but he stopped shy of dubbing it "collusion.".

"They are doing an exhaustive investigation," Nunberg told NBC News after his interview, which he said appeared to be "narrowly focused on collusion."

Nunberg's recollection of the day's events provided a firsthand account of the workings of committee investigators as Trump's presidency enters its third year.

Trump has strongly denied there was any collusion between his campaign and Russia. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is separately investigating the possibility of collusion.

Staff on the Senate committee, which is chaired by Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, continued Friday in a closed door interview to press that line of inquiry.

Investigators went through a "check list" of questions, Nunberg said, including whether he had been aware of any conversations or relationships during his time with Trump regarding Russian banks, Russian oligarchs or business dealings with Russia.

Senate Dems set to take aim at new Trump attorney general pick

Senate Dems set to take aim at new Trump attorney general pick The fate of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe is looming large over a high-stakes hearing for President Trump's attorney general nominee. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); William Barr will be in the hot seat next week when he faces the Senate Judiciary Committee for a two-day grilling that is expected to focus on the fate of Mueller's investigation into the 2016 election and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has urged Carter Page , a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump 's presidential campaign , to fully Page later told ABC News that he had “no recollection” of discussing Trump ’s willingness to ease up sanctions on Russia but that “something may have come

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday held its first public hearing about its investigation into Russia 's interference in the 2016 election. 'There is a great, great deal of smoke': Senate Intel Committee holds first public hearing on Trump - Russia probe .

Nunberg, who sat with committee staff for four and half hours, said he was asked repeatedly about how Trump formulated his policy positions regarding Russia. Trump has voiced support for numerous foreign policy positions beneficial to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nunberg said he told the committee that Trump, as a candidate, said "he would take the position that he was happy Russia was in Syria."

At the time, Nunberg said that position raised no red flags because he saw it as consistent with Trump's generally held view that the United States should not be involved in the Middle East. Nunberg said the campaign was getting questions at that time about how he saw U.S. involvement in Syria.

Also of interest to investigators, Nunberg said, was the campaign's relationship with the National Rifle Association and efforts by a Russian national to get a meeting with Trump through the NRA. Nunberg says he told investigators Friday that he was aware of efforts by Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty last month to conspiring with a Russian official to interfere in American politics, to seek a meeting with Trump, using the NRA as a conduit.

Schumer: Barr Refused to Provide Assurances in Meeting

Schumer: Barr Refused to Provide Assurances in Meeting Schumer said the attorney general nominee refused to provide assurances he would not interfere in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, would not guarantee issuing a full report at the conclusion of the probe and provided few specifics with regard to preserving the inquiry's transparency. “Despite the fact that there were some nice words at the hearing, he would not have the kind of strong and clear commitments to the report being issued and there being no interference in the investigation that are needed, particularly now, with President Trump treating the Justice department as he has,” Schumer said.

A list of the committee members , their backgrounds and their history with James B. Comey, the One of the most steadfast members of the committee , he caused a stir on Wednesday when he pressed She has expressed impatience with the Senate ’s probe , saying that she thinks it needs to be sped up.

The chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee briefed reporters on Wednesday about their investigation into President Trump 's potential connections to On Capitol Hill, two investigations are looking at Russia 's election meddling and possible ties to the Trump campaign .

Investigators also peppered Nunberg with questions which suggested to him that they were trying to pin down specific relationships among members of Trump's campaign and organization and outside actors, including Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Last year, Nunberg went on a whirlwind media tour declaring that he wouldn't comply with a subpoena from the special counsel's office. But he ultimately reversed course and sat for interviews with Mueller's investigators. He also testified before a federal grand jury.

In the interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Nunberg said he was asked about numerous former campaign staff members, the president's children and other associates including: Roger Stone, Jerome Corsi, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Tom Barrack, Michael Cohen, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump. He was also asked about Trump's relationship with Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch, and his pop-singer son, Emin, who helped set up the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Nunberg said he was not asked about the president's son-in-law and current White House adviser, Jared Kushner.

Democrat vows to probe Trump lawyer's alleged lies to Congress

Democrat vows to probe Trump lawyer's alleged lies to Congress A top Democrat in the US Congress has vowed to look into a report that President Donald Trump ordered his personal attorney to lie to Congress to hide dealings with Russia.Adam Schiff, who heads the Intelligence Committee in the House of Representatives, was reacting to a report late Thursday by the online site BuzzFeed that Trump ordered lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress in 2017 about talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign."The allegation that the President of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date," Schiff tweeted. "We will do what's necessary to find out if it's true."Trump also supported a Cohen plan to visit Russia during the presidential campaign to meet President Vladimir Putin to jump-start the Moscow tower negotiations according to BuzzFeed, which cites two unnamed federal law enforcement officials as sources. The trip never materialized, and Trump has repeatedly and emphatically denied dealings with Russia during the campaign.Cohen also provided Trump and two of his children -- Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. -- regular updates about the Moscow project, the sources told BuzzFeed.

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying on the Trump - Russia probe at the Senate Intelligence Committee . It is Comey's first public appearance since Trump fired him on May 9

Both committees are investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election campaign last year as Russia has denied the allegations. Trump has dismissed suggestions of links with Moscow as Democratic sour The Senate committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Senate intel committee grilling ex-Trump campaign members in Russia probe© Andrew Harrer Image: Former Trump Campaign Aide Sam Nunberg Appears For Mueller's Grand Jury

Among the other topics raised Friday, Nunberg said, were the 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in New York with Trump Jr, Manafort, Kushner and a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer offering them the promise of "dirt" on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton; Trump's travel to Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant; the company's interest in building a tower in the Russian capital.

Nunberg said he was surprised by the interest in a Moscow tower since the campaign's official position was that it would not seek new foreign deals. Nunberg said he was asked to review public statements, emails, tweets and text messages obtained by investigators related to potential Russian interference.

Nunberg described the committee's investigation as professional and bipartisan. "If I were the White House, I would be concerned," said Nunberg, who joined the campaign early but was fired in August 2015 after racially charged Facebook posts were uncovered.

Unlike the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation, which was shuttered by Republicans last spring over the protest of Democrats, the Senate committee's probe has proceeded deliberately and in a largely non-partisan manner. Led by Burr and Ranking Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the panel has broken its probe into five parts and began releasing preliminary findings and recommendations last fall.

Giuliani calls latest Cohen allegations 'categorically false'

Giuliani calls latest Cohen allegations 'categorically false' President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Friday slammed a report that the president directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign, calling the report "categorically false." "Any suggestion - from any so urce - that the President counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false. Michael Cohen is a convicted criminal and a liar," Giuliani said in a statement Friday. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

The Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing with top intelligence officials to discuss Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation. 'What you feel isn't relevant': Senators grill top intel officials about whether Trump pressured them to ease off Russia probe .

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is criticizing the Senate intelligence committee over its investigation into possible collusion between Russia and associates of the Trump campaign . Trump said Thursday on Twitter: “Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News

Those separate reports include: an analysis of the Intelligence Community's assessment of Russia's interference in the 2016 election; Russia's use of social media and how social media firms addressed the abuse of their platforms; how the FBI and Obama administration addressed Russia's activities and informed the public; an assessment of federal and state election security readiness; and whether Trump campaign officials colluded with the Russians.

The final question is potentially the most difficult for lawmakers on the committee to reach consensus on, and may not be fully answered until after the special counsel issues its final report.

Burr said Thursday he still hopes to hear additional testimony from Cohen, the president's former lawyer and fixer, who is set to appear publicly before the House Oversight Committee next month.

Cohen pleaded guilty last month to lying to Congress about interest in building a Trump tower in Moscow.

Flynn, who served as Trump's first national security adviser, separately pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with the Russian ambassador and is cooperating with the special counsel. Manafort, who served as Trump's campaign chairman in 2016, pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy and one count of obstruction of justice related to witness tampering.

Senator: 'Bad Email' Could Show GOP Obstructed Justice.
“Whether it amounts to criminal conduct, clearly the efforts of the House Republicans were designed to impede and throw sticks into the spokes of the Mueller investigation,” Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said.

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