Delving into a political quarrel over the most recent subpoenas in the US House Intelligence Committee’s Russia test, US President Donald Trump on Thursday backed endeavors to examine activities by US security and different authorities under past president Barack Obama.
“The big story is the ‘unmasking and surveillance’ of people that took place during the Obama Administration,” Trump said in a tweet, one day after the committee’s Republican chairman subpoenaed the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency amid complaints by Democrats that they were not consulted.
Committee Chairman Devin Nunes asked the agencies on Wednesday for subtle elements of any solicitations made by two top Obama administration aides and the previous Central Intelligence Agency chief to “unmask” Trump campaign advisors incidentally grabbed in top-mystery remote interchanges catches, as indicated by congressional sources.
Another congressional source, who also requested anonymity, said Democrats were “informed and consulted” ahead of time, but committee aides said they were not told.
Nunes, in April, recused himself from driving the board’s examination concerning suspected Russian intruding in the 2016 presidential race taking after a mystery visit he paid to White House authorities, however he holds subpoena control. A senior committee aide said Wednesday’s subpoenas were not part of the Russia test.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, Republican Representative Mike Conaway and Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who are leading the committee’s Russia probe, announced subpoenas for Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as well as their firms.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied leading efforts to interfere in last year’s US election.
Trump, a Republican, has denied any collusion between Russia and his campaign and has repeatedly questioned the US intelligence finding that Putin led an operation that included computer hacking, fake news and propaganda intended to swing the election in his favor.
The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation is just one of several congressional probes into Russia, along with one by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Also, the U.S. Department of Justice recently appointed a special counsel.
The Guardian newspaper said on Thursday said that Nigel Farage, a Trump supporter and a leading Brexit campaigner, is a “person of interest” in the FBI probe but has not been accused of wrongdoing. Farage, a former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, said he had no Russia connections.
Farage said on Twitter it had taken him a long time to read the Guardian article because he was “laughing so much at this fake news”.
“This hysterical attempt to associate me with the (Vladimir) Putin regime is a result of the liberal elite being unable to accept Brexit and Trump,” he said.
“I consider it extremely doubtful that I could be a person of interest to the FBI as I have no connections to Russia.”
Separately, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was moving toward returning two Russian compounds in the United States to Moscow.
The Maryland and New York compounds were seized under the Obama administration in December as part of a larger action targeting Russian diplomats whom it said were spies. Russian officials said last month that they might retaliate.