Top Russia probe Republican: 'No intention' of calling Cambridge Analytica officials back

Top Russia probe Republican: 'No intention' of calling Cambridge Analytica officials back
© Greg Nash

The Republican lawmaker leading the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation said Monday he does not intend to call back Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix or other company officials to testify before the panel.

Rep. Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayHillicon Valley: New FTC chief eyes shake up of tech regulation | Lawmakers target Google, Huawei partnership | Microsoft employees voice anger over ICE contract Lawmakers urge Google to drop partnership with Chinese phone maker Huawei Hillicon Valley: Deal reached on ZTE, but lawmakers look to block it | New encryption bill | Dems push Ryan for net neutrality vote | Google vows it won't use AI for weapons MORE (R-Texas) appeared to have little appetite to talk to the data firm that the Trump campaign used during the 2016 presidential election. 

Cambridge Analytica reportedly obtained and kept the private information of 50 million Facebook users without their permission, which prompted Facebook to suspend the firm on Friday.

“I have no intention of bringing in any other witnesses for the Russia investigation,” Conaway told reporters when asked whether he wants to hear from the firm.

He instead deferred the decision to Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHouse GOP headed for showdown with DOJ over key documents Schiff: ‘Deeply disturbing’ that FBI gave Nunes confidential info on Clinton's emails Gowdy: House will use 'full arsenal' of constitutional weapons to get DOJ, FBI compliance on subpoenas MORE (R-Calif.) who he said will broadly control whether or not to bring in new witnesses related to the Russia investigation after Thursday, when the GOP plans to put out its final report on the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election.

"If Chairman Nunes wants to bring them in, I would certainly support that,” he said.

Reports have suggested that Cambridge Analytica's CEO previously tried to contact WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and there are allegedly links between the firm and a Russian oil company looking to obtain information about reaching American voters. 

Conaway's comments contrast starkly with the views of the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, who has called for Nix, as well as other Cambridge Analytica officials, to talk to the panel.

“The reports that Cambridge Analytica misappropriated the private data of tens of millions of Americans and put it to use in a political campaign is deeply disturbing,” Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: Defense spending bill amendments target hot-button issues | Space Force already facing hurdles | Senators voice 'deep' concerns at using military lawyers on immigration cases Rubio heckled by protestors outside immigration detention facility MSNBC’s Ruhle fires back at ‘Fox & Friends’ over ‘propaganda’ about migrant children MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters Monday.

The California Democrat called on the majority to bring Nix before the committee again over what he said may be contradictory information provided by a whistleblower who claims the firm illegally obtained its information.

“If the reports of the whistleblower are accurate, it also means that Mr. Nix’s testimony to our committee is called into serious question. I think we need to bring him back. I also think that we need to bring in the other witnesses from Cambridge Analytica that we asked the majority to previously,” he said about Christopher Wylie, whom he has invited to come testify before the panel.

Wylie claims Facebook knew about the data breach for two years.

Conaway, when asked if he shares concerns that Nix potentially misled the committee, said he doesn’t know what Schiff is “making reference to.”

The divide over Cambridge Analytica reflects partisan squabbling on the committee that has dogged its Russia investigation.

Democrats say the GOP moving to wrap up its yearlong Russia investigation has left major gaps in its witness list, including Cambridge Analytica employees. Republicans have defended their decision to end the Russia probe, saying they have amassed enough evidence to put out a report on their findings.