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    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. gives reporters an update about the ongoing Russia investigation adding that President Donald Trump's campaign communications may have been monitored during the transition period as part of an incidental collection, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

    Why US Inquiry Into Russia's Alleged Meddling in Election Reached Deadlock

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    It appears that the inquiry into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections has finally stalled. Apparently, the problem is that new inconvenient truths regarding the inappropriate handling of intelligence information on Trump's team continue to emerge.

    The investigation into an alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign has seemingly reached a deadlock.

    Democrats have recently accused Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes of deliberately stalling the inquiry by canceling the committee's meetings and urged him to recuse himself from the investigation.

    On Monday night Rep. Adam B. Schiff called upon Nunes to remove himself from the inquiry.

    "This is not a recommendation I make lightly, as the Chairman and I have worked together well for several years; and I take this step with the knowledge of the solemn responsibility we have on the Intelligence Committee to provide oversight on all intelligence matters, not just to conduct the investigation," Schiff said in an official statement.

    ​A Democratic chorus echoed Schiff on Tuesday.

    "An investigation is only as credible as those who lead it. Chairman Nunes sacrificed his credibility & must recuse himself," Rep. Kathleen Rice tweeted March 28.

    The Democratic Party members Rep. Terry Sewell and Rep. Jackie Speier also issued statements calling upon Nunes to step aside or even to resign.

    However, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee signaled Tuesday that he would neither recuse himself nor resign and told CNN that the investigation "moves forward just like it was before."

    Still, it appears that it wasn't the cancellation of the committee's hearings involving former acting attorney general Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Michael Rogers that prompted deep concerns within the Democratic camp.

    Apparently, the root of the matter lies in Nunes' revelations regarding an illegal dissemination of "incidentally" collected intelligence on Donald Trump and his team.

    Speaking to journalists last week, Nunes confirmed that the intelligence community "incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition."

    While the "incidental" gathering of sensitive information on US citizens is technically legal, the dissemination of such data is completely inappropriate, Mollie Hemingway of Federalist pointed out while commenting on Nunes' press conference.

    To make the situation even worse, none of the surveillance material collected on Trump's team was connected to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities.

    "Details about US persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value, were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting," Nunes told reporters March 22, "Finally, I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team."

    "When an administration is spreading around reports of political and personal discussions, failing to mask that information, and the information itself isn't of foreign intelligence value, you have the makings of a huge scandal," Hemingway highlighted.

    To add to the Democrats' confusion, Nunes announced Tuesday that he will not unveil — at least for a period of time — who exactly provided him with the intelligence reports revealing that Trump and his associates were subjected to incidental intelligence monitoring.

    Currently, two separate investigations are going on, conservative media outlet Washington Examiner explains.

    The first one pertains to alleged Russian meddling in the US 2016 presidential campaign; the second one is a "potentially illegal handling of intelligence information on US persons by the intelligence community or the Obama administration."

    It is understandable that Nunes needs to take his time to look into both issues, the media outlet pointed out.

    Moscow has repeatedly refuted groundless claims that the Russian government could have interfered in the US presidential election, calling attention to the fact that the US failed to present any evidence to confirm its allegations. 

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    Tags:
    Democrats, Republicans, spying, election, surveillance, 2016 US Presidential election, Devin Nunes, Sally Yates, Michael Rogers, James Comey, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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