Accessibility links

USA

Democrats, Republicans Cautious on New Russia-Trump Allegations


A part of the declassified version Intelligence Community Assessment on Russia's efforts to interfere with the U.S. political process is photographed in Washington, Jan. 6, 2017.

A part of the declassified version Intelligence Community Assessment on Russia's efforts to interfere with the U.S. political process is photographed in Washington, Jan. 6, 2017.

Bipartisan caution held sway Wednesday on Capitol Hill as both House Republicans and Democrats addressed the controversial and uncorroborated reports in some media outlets alleging Russia had collected sensitive material on President-elect Donald Trump.

The full House is expected to receive access to the finished report within days, Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes told reporters following a committee's vote to make the finished intelligence product available.

It was unclear if the 35 pages of material referred to by Buzzfeed and other media sources would be part of that finished product.

FILE - House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 10, 2015.

FILE - House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 10, 2015.

"It doesn't look like a very good intelligence product to me," said Nunes, a Republican, referring to the 35-page document "I'm just glancing at it. I haven't had time to read it."

"We will take the finished product — like we take all finished intelligence products — and comb through it and mine sources, data and methods. I have no idea if this 35-page document was part of that assessment or not," he said when asked if the allegations merited further investigation.

‘This is not a partisan issue’

But House Democratic Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters in a briefing earlier Wednesday that "Allegations surrounding this are of such magnitude that we believe there needs to be an independent commission to review the facts, make findings and recommendations to the Congress and to the administration."

FILE - Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 5, 2013.

FILE - Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 5, 2013.

Urging media to be very careful with material relating to scandal or election interference, Hoyer said, "This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue about American democracy, integrity of our elections — which is the basis of our democracy — and I would urge President Trump to be as energized and focused and open to a commission that would look at this issue in a nonpartisan way as would anybody else in this country."

But Republican Congressman Chris Collins told VOA he isn't personally concerned by the newest allegations and does not see a need for a Congressional investigation.

"I'm concerned about CIA and other intelligence people leaking confidential information to the press in a slanderous way," Collins said. “We need to know who in the CIA or the intelligence community was leaking confidential information to the press and there needs to be repercussions for that. Secondly, none of us know what's true or not, fake or not. We don't know."

FILE - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 25, 2016.

FILE - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 25, 2016.

Pelosi weighs in

Earlier, House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters any financial or personal allegations against Trump "cannot have an impact on the national security of the United States of America."

Pelosi declined to get into the details of the latest revelations that allege ties between Russia and Trump, and noted the information had been in circulation among journalists for some time and remained uncorroborated.

Pelosi did say she had broader concerns about the president-elect's approach to the U.S.-Russia relationship.

"I always wondered what did Russia have on Donald Trump?" she told reporters.

Pelosi cautioned that her judgments were based on information in the public domain and not on any classified briefings she has received. The House Democratic leader declined to speculate on the consequences of the allegations, should they be found to be true.

Democrats' cautious approach extended to the White House, where Press Secretary Josh Earnest addressed Trump's tweeted response to the allegations in which he compared the intelligence community to Nazi Germany.

"The men and women of our intelligence community are patriots," Earnest said. "These are men and women who have served our country under Democrat and Republican presidents, and they made a decision when they began in their career to set aside their own personal and ideological views and focus solely on the facts."

  • 16x9 Image

    Katherine Gypson

    Katherine Gypson is a reporter for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining VOA in 2013, Katherine produced documentary and public affairs programming in Afghanistan, Tunisia and Turkey. She also produced and co-wrote a 12-episode road-trip series for Pakistani television exploring the United States during the 2012 presidential election. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from American University. Follow her @kgyp

Your opinion

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG