Trump’s year: Congress bickers over Russia, Mueller looms


By Mary Clare Jalonick | Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Republicans who spent the early months of 2017 working with Democrats on investigations into Russian interference in U.S. elections have pivoted as the new year begins and midterm elections loom, leaving the conclusions of those congressional probes in doubt.

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As special counsel Robert Mueller has ramped up his own Russian investigation and brought charges against four of President Donald Trump’s former campaign advisers, Republicans have changed focus in their own Russia probes. With Trump’s encouragement as he nears a year in office, multiple GOP-led congressional committees are now investigating the FBI and whether the bureau conspired against the president during the campaign.

With the exception of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has maintained bipartisan comity, it’s becoming increasingly likely that Congress won’t be able to agree on whether Trump’s campaign was in any way connected to the Russian meddling or on how to prevent a repeat of Russia’s 2016 interference in future elections.

That turns mostly all the attention to Mueller, who has expressed interest in interviewing Trump in the coming months and who has been a consistent thorn for Trump’s presidency in the eight months since he became special counsel. Mueller’s investigation is likely to go deep into 2018, if not beyond, and could continue to loom over Trump’s presidency as Republicans face headwinds in their attempts to retain control of both chambers of Congress.

This past week, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee blamed Republicans for blocking witnesses who Democrats say would be crucial to their Russia probe, laying the blame on the committee’s GOP chairman, California Rep. Devin Nunes, and on House Speaker Paul Ryan. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

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