House Intel Panel to Hear From Top Officials on Russia Probe

Justin Sullivan  Getty Images

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

"Yesterday, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence sent two letters related to its investigation into Russian active measures during the 2016 election campaign", Emily Hytha, a spokesperson for Republican Rep. Mike Conaway, wrote on Friday.

"The first letter was sent to FBI Director James Comey and National Security Advisor Admiral Mike Rogers, inviting them to appear at a closed hearing on May 2, 2017", the release stated.

Comey and Rogers testified in an open hearing late last month.

A second letter was sent to former CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates for an open hearing after May 2, according to the release.

The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday asked several senior Obama administration officials, including former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, to testify publicly in the panel's probe into Russian interference in the US election.

In the end, Democrats and Republicans agreed to hold both the closed and open hearing that Democrats had been pushing for.

That hearing would have been the first opportunity for the public to hear Yates' account of her role in the firing of Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. At the time, Comey confirmed that the FBI was investigating whether President Donald Trump's associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election. But partisan differences persist: Democrats want to focus on the finding of US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation meddled in the election to help Donald Trump win, while some Republicans agree with Trump that the real issue is whether Obama's administration spied on Trump's campaign and leaked what they found.

The committee's hearing schedule was stalled last month after Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., disclosed that USA spy agencies had swept up communications of Trump associates.

Yates, who was sacked by Trump for refusing to defend his executive order banning travel from a handful of Muslim-majority countries, reportedly warned the White House in late January that then-National Security Advisor Mike Flynn had been communicating with the Russian government and could be a vulnerable blackmail target.

Committee Democrats also were angered when Nunes scrapped a scheduled public hearing with Brennan, Yates and Clapper.

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