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GOP chairman: Oversight won't investigate Flynn
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Tuesday that his panel won't investigate the circumstances that led to Michael Flynn stepping down Monday as President Trump's national security adviser.
Instead, Chaffetz deferred to the House Intelligence Committee, which is already investigating Russia's attempt to influence the presidential elections, a scope that includes campaign communications with the Russian government.
"I think that situation has taken care of itself. I know that the Intel committee is looking into the hacking issue," Chaffetz told reporters.
"I think he did the right thing stepping down."
The Washington Post reported Monday night that then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates had warned the White House counsel before Trump fired her last month that Flynn had misled the public about his communications with the Russian ambassador after the Obama administration announced sanctions in response to election-related hacking.
Flynn stepped down from his post within hours after the report was published, saying in his resignation letter that he "inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador."
Law enforcement agencies discovered Flynn's communications during routine surveillance of the Russian ambassador.
Chaffetz said that sensitive intelligence methods fall to the House Intelligence Committee, rather than his House Oversight Committee.
"It really is the purview of the Intel Committee. They really are the only ones that can look at that type of information, particularly when you're talking about interactions with a nation-state like that. It's not something the Oversight Committee can actually look at because sources and methods are the exclusive purview of the Intel Committee," Chaffetz said.
But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) indicated Tuesday that he doesn't plan to launch a separate investigation of Flynn. Nunes cited executive privilege, according to CNN.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, called for a full classified briefing about the circumstances leading to Flynn's departure from all the relevant agencies.
"Now, we in Congress need to know who authorized his actions, permitted them, and continued to let him have access to our most sensitive national security information despite knowing these risks. We need to know who else within the White House is a current and ongoing risk to our national security," Cummings said in a joint statement with Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
Last week, attendees at a Chaffetz town hall in Utah chanted, "Do your job!" – a call for Chaffetz to launch probes of the Trump administration.
[Source: The Hill, Washington, 14Feb17]
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