Top Oversight and Foreign Affairs Dems ask Black Cube for answers on alleged Iran deal op

Top Oversight and Foreign Affairs Dems ask Black Cube for answers on alleged Iran deal op
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The top Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs and the Oversight and Government Reform committees are pressing the founders of a private Israeli intelligence firm about a reported effort by the Trump administration to discredit former Obama administration officials.

In a letter to Black Cube founders Avi Yanus and Dan Zorella, Reps. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDems fight to protect Mueller amid Rosenstein rumors Rep. Cummings: Will Kavanaugh take lie detector test and ask for FBI investigation? Graham to renew call for second special counsel MORE (D-Md.) and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelState Department: Allegations of racism 'disgusting and false' The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms Overnight Defense: Trump tells veterans he will 'stand up for America' | McConnell, Ryan say Putin not welcome on Capitol Hill | Mattis tries to explain Trump's Iran tweet MORE (D-N.Y.) raised questions about the firm's role in a reported plot to dig up dirt on former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, as well as Colin Kahl, Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenSaving the transatlantic partnership Biden to campaign for Stacey Abrams next week Dems with political experience could have edge in 2020 primary, says pollster MORE's former national security adviser.

The letter came after the British newspaper The Observer reported earlier this month that Trump administration officials enlisted Black Cube to discredit Rhodes and Kahl, who were instrumental in negotiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

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The Observer reported that the aim of the operation was to discredit the Iran deal by gathering damaging information about some of its key advocates. Trump withdrew from that pact earlier this month after threatening to do so for more than a year. 

"If these reports are accurate, they raise grave questions about how and why a foreign entity was engaged to attempt to secretly influence the foreign policy of the United States," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. 

The letter states that Cummings and Engel had obtained evidence that appeared to confirm that Black Cube sought on multiple occasions to gather information on Rhodes and Kahl through family members.

Black Cube has denied any involvement in the reported plan, saying through a spokesman that it "had nothing to do with this."

In an email to The Hill earlier this month, Black Cube said it had no ties whatsoever to the Trump administration or to the Iran nuclear deal. 

"Black Cube has no relation whatsoever to the Trump administration, to Trump aides, to anyone close to the administration, or to the Iran Nuclear deal," the firm said.

Black Cube gained notoriety last year after it was reported that the firm had ties to disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has faced numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. Weinstein on Friday turned himself in to police in New York, where he is facing rape charges.