Schumer asks for review of ‘political interference’ in Russia investigations

Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is asking the Department of Justice’s top watchdog to investigate whether the Trump administration has interfered with federal investigations into Russia.

“The American people deserve to know if the investigation into Russia’s interference with our election and the administration’s contact with Russian officials has been compromised by political interference,” Schumer wrote in a letter to Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general.
He added in the letter to Horowitz, “I … urge you to begin an immediate investigation into whether there has been any political interference with an ongoing Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation.”
Schumer said the administration hasn’t been “forthcoming” about conversations between President Trump’s team and Moscow.
{mosads}He pointed to former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation over allegations that he discussed sanctions with Moscow before the inauguration. He also cited Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision last week to recuse himself from any investigation related to Russia and the presidential election after failing while under oath to disclose two conversations he had with the Russian ambassador.
“We need to ensure that the investigation is impartial, and hasn’t already been compromised in any way by the Trump administration. That’s why I’m calling on the Inspector General to get involved immediately,” Schumer added. 
In addition to finding out if an investigation has been “compromised,” Schumer wants to know if the White House has tried to interfere with an investigation or if it has pressured the DOJ on any probe. 
Schumer asked the DOJ inspector general to find out whether Sessions and Trump discussed Flynn’s resignation or the department’s investigation. 
He also wants to know if Sessions “or his close associates” personally oversaw DOJ or FBI work on an investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and if Sessions’s decision to wait to recuse himself was “improper.” 
Similar to a letter sent late last week by five Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Schumer’s letter also asked for more details on Sessions’s decisionmaking process and who helped prepare Sessions’s testimony during his confirmation hearing. 
Democrats — who are in the minority in both the House and Senate — have little formal leverage to get the administration or Republicans in Congress to go along with their demand for more information on any potential ties between Russia and the administration. 
But they are using a flurry of public letters, as well as press conferences and floor speeches, to try to build public pressure around the issue. 
The FBI hasn’t publicly confirmed that it is looking into any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. 
Trump defended Sessions last week, saying his attorney general “did not say anything wrong.”
“The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election and now, they have lost their grip on reality,” Trump said. “The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total witch hunt!”
Tags Charles Schumer Jeff Sessions

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