05:03 GMT28 January 2020
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    Democrats said they may withdraw from a panel investigating alleged Russian attempts to meddle in the US presidential election. They expect that the committee would work out a credible report.

    Members of the Democratic Party warned that they may pull out their support for an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in the United States, the New York Times reported.

    "I’m not going to be part of a dog-and-pony show that is not a serious effort to do an investigation because this is really serious," Democrat Representative Jackie Speier told the newspaper.

    According to her, "under certain circumstances," all nine Democrats involved in the investigation panel would immediately withdraw their support.

    The article read that Democrats are wary of actions by the committee’s chairman Rep. Representative Devin Nunes who "undercuts the purported Russian connection." Moreover, Democrats are concerned about Nunes’ pledges to examine President Donald Trump’s allegations that his predecessor Barack Obama ordered surveillance of Trump Tower during the electoral campaign.

    Earlier, Trump wrote on Twitter that Obama tapped his phones in Trump Tower in October during the "very sacred election process."

    ​Trump did not provide any evidence to his accusations though.

    According to Dem. Representative Jim Himes, Democrats may leave the committee "if the moment requires" but they are "certainly not there yet." He was echoed by party fellow Mike Quigley who said: "It’s a big jump to pull out of this investigation, no matter how bad it is."

    Nevertheless, Democrats do not believe that cooperation with Republicans will be productive.

    Speaking with the newspaper, Representative Adam B. Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, doubted that the panel could conduct a "credible investigation," resulting in a "single, bipartisan report."

    At the same time, according to the New York Times, Democrats understand that the inquiry would provide a chance to take a closer look at connections between the Trump team and Russian officials. Moreover, they are already bracing for a campaign to subpoena witnesses and documents, including Trump’s tax returns.

    Summing up, certain supporters of former Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton are still calling for an independent investigation into the matter, but many Democrats understand that an inquiry by a panel is the best option possible.

    Special Committee

    On March 2, Rep. Senator John McCain said that a special committee needed to be established to investigate the alleged Russian interference in the US election. Trump’s pick for intelligence chief Daniel Coats also endorsed a deep investigation in the matter.

    As a result, a special committee was established, including representatives of the Republican and Democratic Parties. The panel chaired by Devin Nunes held its first public session on March 20.

    CNN citing sources also reported that the secret counterintelligence division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is in charge of an independent inquiry in Moscow’s alleged attempts to influence the 2016 election. According to the report, 15-20 agents are assigned to the probe. It is 5-10 fewer than were assigned to the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

    Later, it was reported that FBI Director James Comey held a non-public meeting with congressmen to present information on the course of the investigation. The meeting involved Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer.

    Russian officials have called the US hacking allegations against Moscow absurd, noting the allegations are intended to deflect US public opinion from revelations of corruption and other pressing domestic issues.

     

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    Tags:
    investigation, election hacking, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Congress, John McCain, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Russia, United States
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