Close aides to Donald Trump subpoenaed over Russian Federation ties


Trump fired Flynn in February amid questions about whether he inappropriately talked about US sanctions against Russia with a Russian official and then misled then-Vice President-elect Pence about those talks.

The Trump-Russia investigations, both in relevant congressional committees and within the FBI, have picked up steam over the last few weeks, following Trump's decision to abruptly fire FBI Director James Comey.

Flynn resigned in February following reports that he had diplomatically engaged Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to President Trump taking office and that Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about that conversation. "I find it irresponsible and improper that the request sent to me was leaked by those working on the committee".

The New York Times reported earlier this year that Cohen hand-delivered to Flynn a proposal by a Ukrainian lawmaker to lift American sanctions on Russian Federation in return for the withdrawal of pro-Russia separatists from Eastern Ukraine.

Attorney Michael Cohen arrives in Trump Tower in NY in December 2016. The president later said in an interview on NBC News that he was concerned about the FBI investigation into what he called the "Russia thing".

Trump has branded the Mueller investigation a witch-hunt, but in the same press conference the President insisted that he respected Mueller's appointment. No substantive evidence has been provided either by the intelligence agencies, the Democratic Party or the media to back up the claims of Russian hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails as part of an effort to tip the election from Hillary Clinton to Trump.

James Comey, fired last month as FBI director amid a federal investigation into connections between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, is set to testify next Thursday at a highly anticipated congressional hearing that could shed light on his private conversations with the president in the weeks before his dismissal.

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Interviewed later on the "PBS NewsHour" program, he said there might be a "benign" explanation for Kushner's proposal for a backchannel with Russian Federation, but added, "One wonders if there might be something more nefarious".

"We have reached out to the committee with several follow up questions", the attorney continued, "and we are awaiting their response in order to better understand what information they are seeking and whether Mr. Epshteyn is able to reasonably provide it". And the congressional committees can seek congressional rulings that any who refuse to co-operate be held in contempt - for which they could ultimately be jailed.

Flynn had previously invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination in declining an earlier request from the committee.

The probe is looking into any possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

New media reports containing generally vague and unsubstantiated allegations continue to emerge nearly on an hourly basis. "This is about where we are as a nation".

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