There’s been suspicion in D.C. that the FBI is investigating ties between The Donald and the Kremlin. Now, lawmakers are telling FBI boss Jim Comey to disclose what he knows–now.”>
On the heels of FBI Director James Comeys decision to expose a new investigation of emails connected to Hillary Clintons server only over a week before the presidential election, top Democrat are demanding that he level the playing field and disclose what the FBI knows about Republican nominee Donald Trumps possible ties to the Russian government.
The FBI now potentially faces a very serious credibility problem, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement to The Daily Beast on Sunday evening. If it turns out that the FBI is in fact investigatingor planning to investigate[ former Trump campaign manager] Paul Manafort because of his dealings with Russia, or anybody else associated with Donald Trumpand does not disclose these facts to the American people before the electionthen the FBI will be accused of a doubled criterion when those facts ultimately do come out.
Comey went to extraordinary lengths to tell the public what the FBI has investigated with regards to Clintons email. But for months, suspicion has mounted among Democrat that the FBI is also probing Trumps Russia ties without the same degree of public transparency.
Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign this summer after revelations of his business dealings with the governmental forces of ousted Ukrainian chairperson Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page is alleged to have visited with two Russian government officials in a possible effort to open a diplomatic backchannel with the Kremlin, according to U.S. officials.
This month, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies issued a unanimous procuring that senior Russian government officials ordered a campaign of computer hacks against Democratic political organizations in an effort to interfere with the upcoming presidential competition. Trump has praised Putin and called on the Russian government to mount further operations against Clinton in order to reveal her private emails. And Trump adviser Roger Stone has claimed to be in contact with WikiLeaks, which has posted emails that Russian hackers stole from the Democratic National Committee and Clintons campaign chairman, John Podesta.
Cummings joined the Senates top Democrat, Harry Reid, who demanded that Comey release information he claims the FBI has on Trumps connections to Russia.
In my connections with you and other top officials in the national-security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian governmenta foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at all opportunities, Reid wrote to the FBI director on Sunday evening.
The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this crucial information.
Reid has something of a habit of making bombshell affirmations that dont pan outhis 2012 accusation that Mitt Romney paid no taxes come to mind. But in this case, Reid may not be pulling this explosive info accusation out of thin air.
Reid has hitherto written to Comey to investigate, among other things, the meetings between Russian officials and Page. Reids letter followed an intelligence briefing he received about the hacks on the Democratic National Committee and Russian efforts to interfere with the election, two someones with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast.( Page denies the meetings ever happened .)
Other Democrat have implored the FBI to look deeper into Trumps dealings with Russia. But so far, GOP leaders have refused to support efforts by Democrat to investigate any possible Trump-Russia connects, which have been raised in news reports and closed-door intelligence briefings. And without their supporting, Democrat, as the minority in both chambers of Congress, cannot issue subpoenas to potential witness and have less leverage to probe Trump.
Privately, Republican congressional staffers have told The Daily Beast that Trump and his aides connections to Russian officials and businesses interests havent gone unnoticed and are concerning. And GOP lawmakers have reviewed Democrat written requests to the FBI that it investigate Trump before they were made public.
But lawmakers in both chambers have declined to sign on to them. Republicans have no appetite to launch investigations into their partys presidential nominee, and they continue to believe the FBI flubbed its investigation into Clinton and her aides, who should have been charged with mishandling government secrets, the staffers said.
Democrats and the Clinton campaign have explosion Comey for releasing “what theyre saying” was a vaguely worded and incomplete statement Friday about the FBIs discovery of emails that he said appear pertinent to the investigation of Clintons email server. In July, Comey issued an extraordinary public statement in which he explained his decision not to recommend pressing charges against Clinton or her aides for what he called their exceedingly careless utilize of private email to conduct official business.
Comey faced criticism at the time for uncovering the inner workings of the investigation and appearing to editorialize on Clintons email use.