The leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation seemed to back off Tuesday from the most surprising finding in the GOP’s report that Russia was not trying to help President Trump as the panel’s top Democrat trashed the product as a political gift to the White House.
Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.) told reporters Tuesday that “it’s clear [Russian officials] were trying to hurt Hillary [Clinton]” by interfering in the 2016 election, and that “everybody gets to make up their own mind whether they were trying to hurt Hillary, help Trump, it’s kind of glass half-full, glass half-empty.”
.. When it comes to determining whether Russia interfered to hurt clinton or help Trump, “you can pitch that either way,” Conaway said Tuesday.
.. His comments came after other panel Republicans, including Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.) gave interviews in which they stressed that there was evidence that Russia had tried to damage Clinton’s candidacy.
.. Schiff added that the report was “little more than another Nunes memo in long form,”
.. Schiff and other Democrats on the committee released a 22-page “status update” Tuesday night, listing the various witnesses, firms and documents that the panel had declined to subpoena or otherwise examine
.. “The majority has decided they would rather shut down the investigation than find out the answers to the questions we had for Stephen K. Bannon,” Schiff said. “This majority doesn’t want to know the answers, and it has set a precedent now that will affect future Congresses’ ability to get answers from the executive.”
White House communications director Hope Hicks refused to answer questions about the Trump administration that House investigators posed Tuesday as part of their probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
.. Hicks, who has already spoken with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team as part of its probe, has become a central figure in a dispute between lawmakers and the White House about when and where witnesses can legitimately resist answering questions in a congressional probe.
.. at first, she categorically resisted answering any questions about events and conversations that had occurred since President Trump won the election, even though Trump has not formally invoked executive privilege with the panel.
.. Democrats on the panel tried to insist during the interview that Hicks be served with a subpoena, as was done with former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon last month
.. the White House to clarify which questions pertaining to the period between Election Day and Trump’s inauguration she would answer
.. her interview continued for nine hours.
.. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to comment Tuesday on whether the White House had instructed Hicks to cooperate
.. she answered none of their questions pertaining to the period since Trump took office, which meant that lawmakers were unable to secure her testimony regarding a key event in which she played a role: the drafting of a misleading statement to explain an unorthodox meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan between top Trump campaign members and a Russian lawyer during the 2016 race.