Amid calls for a formal probe into allegations the Kremlin pried into the 2016 U.S. election framework, Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, stated he has so far found no evidence to support the charge of Russian meddling.
Cautioning against a “witch hunt,” Nunes told reporters on Monday:
“As of right now, I don’t have any evidence of any phone calls. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist. What I’ve been told by many folks is that there’s nothing there. We will continue to take evidence. We’ll follow the facts where they lead.”
Congressional Democrats have repeatedly charged President Trump’s election was aided by the assistance of Russian intelligence services. Seizing on published stories in American newspapers, Democrats also contend Trump campaign aides were in contact with Kremlin officials prior to the November election.
Similarly, some have stated the alleged hacking was personally ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Despite the fact multiple committees in both houses of Congress wield power to initiate formal inquiries, the House and Senate Intelligence committees hold the broadest power to conduct such investigations.
Although Nunes’ committee is currently looking into the matter, no formal exploration has been established, enraging many Democrats, many of whom have demanded the creation of a bipartisan select committee to manage a thorough study of the charge.
Responding with dismay to Nunes was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who, while addressing the National Press Club pledged not to cooperate with President Trump’s legislative agenda, said Nunes’ remarks amounted to “stonewalling.”
“We haven’t looked into it, but we know there’s nothing there…please,” Pelosi said scornfully.
Nunes added to reporters the House will continue to study the matter regardless of how the Senate chooses to handle the circumstances.
The committee’s ranking Democratic member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), said he wants relevant investigations to focus on former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s potential role in interfering with Obama administration efforts to sanction Russia for “hacking into our elections.”
[Roll Call] [RT America] [Photo courtesy AP via Politico]