House intel panel to hear from top officials on Russia probe

Top law enforcement and intelligence officials are expected to testify next week on Capitol Hill about Russian activities to influence the USA presidential election.

On Friday, the panel said that it sent a letter inviting the former Obama administration officials on Thursday to an open hearing that would be scheduled after May 2.

After disagreement between Democrats and Republicans over who would testify as it probes possible links between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, the committee said it sent a letter inviting James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Admiral Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, to appear behind closed doors on May 2.

The week before Yates had been scheduled to testify, Comey confirmed the existence of the FBI's investigation into ties between President Trump's campaign and Russian Federation in an open hearing. 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.

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The letters appear to mark the end of an impasse that emerged late last month, when the committee's chairman, Devin Nunes, accused Democrats of not signing a letter inviting FBI Director James Comey to testify before the committee in a closed session. He stepped down on April 6 and handed the probe over to Conaway amid questions about his ability to lead an unbiased investigation into President Donald Trump's ties to Russian Federation.

Nunes, who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for potentially revealing classified information, has faced fierce scrutiny over his relationship to the White House and has since stepped aside from the probe. That raised questions about whether the chairman was too close to the White House to lead an impartial inquiry.

Nunes added: ‶I will continue to fulfill all my other responsibilities as Committee Chairman. He blamed "left-wing activist groups" for filing ethics complaints alleging he mishandled classified information. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, has taken over in the meantime and the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, told "CBS This Morning this week that the probe is "back on track" after Nunes, he said, "cast a real cloud over the committee".

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