World Bulletin / News Desk
An investigation into alleged ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials has yet to yield any evidence to back the claims, a key lawmaker said on Monday.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House committee on intelligence, dismissed demands from Democrats to appoint an independent special prosecutor to head the inquiry.
“What are we going to appoint a special prosecutor to do exactly, to chase stories of American citizens that end up in newspaper articles?” he asked rhetorically during comments to reporters.
“If at some point, we have serious crimes [that] have been committed, it would be something that we would consider. But at this point, we don't have that,” he added.
- Russia contacts
His comments follow the abrupt ouster of former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn who was forced to resign after media reports disclosed his contacts with Russia’s Washington envoy as Trump prepared to assume office, and that he misled senior officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about the talks.
At the time, Flynn was not authorized to hold such discussions, which centered on U.S. sanctions, as the Trump administration had yet to assume office.
But Nunes dismissed the sparsely enforced law that makes such contacts illegal, known as the Logan Act.
“The Logan Acts are ridiculous. You guys know they’re ridiculous,” he said.
The New York Times reported that beyond Flynn, other senior Trump campaign officials -- including Paul Manafort, Trump’s one-time campaign chairman -- held repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 campaign.
The story relied on communications that were intercepted by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
“At this point, here at the committee, we still don't have any evidence of them talking to Russians,” Nunes said.
“We can't have McCarthyism back in this place. We can't have the U.S. government or the Congress, legislative branch of government chasing down American citizens, hauling them before the Congress as if they’re some secret Russian agent,” he said.
“And that's what I'm concerned about here, that we don't go on some witch hunt against American citizens just because they appear in a press story somewhere,” he added.Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Şubat 2017, 08:42