Head of Trump-Russia probe under fire, won't step down

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes suggested Wednesday that Democrats are not serious about the ongoing investigation into Russia's involvement in the election.

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

Spicer spoke after a report in the Washington Post claimed that the Trump administration had tried to block Yates appearing before the committee, by citing presidential confidentiality. The California Republican said "we're going to do an investigation with our without" Democrats. The California Republican admitted that he met with an unidentified source on the White House grounds to review intelligence reports ahead of his claim that Trump transition members' communications were "incidentally" swept up by USA intelligence officials.

"I don't care what Mr. Ryan says", he said. Nunes, who was on Trump's transition team, has declined to elaborate and he shared his information with the White House, but not his Democratic colleagues on the intelligence committee. Yates was scheduled to appear before the Intelligence Committee alongside other former intelligence officials. She had earlier told the Trump campaign that security advisor Michael Flynn may have left himself vulnerable to blackmail attempts from Moscow after lying about conversations with the Russian Ambassador to Washington.

Trump subsequently fired Yates after she told Justice Department lawyers not to defend his first executive order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

CBS News obtained a letter from the Justice Department to the attorney representing Yates. He also wrote that Yates' testimony would cover details that others have publicly recounted. O'Neil immediately challenged this but shortly after, he received another letter from the Justice Department referring him to the White House.

"The White House did not stop Yates from testifying", Yates said. "We have no problem with her testifying, plain and simple". Flynn was ousted after those discrepancies were made public. "As far as I know they've done very little to even look through the documents that the intelligence agencies have provided". Nunes, for his part, is standing firm, saying he will not recuse himself from the probe.

Nunes said on Tuesday he has "no idea" why Democrats would call for him to step aside from the investigation.

  • Rogelio Becker