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 CummingsCohen to testify before Senate Intel on Tuesday Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump Jordan says Oversight should be more focused on McCabe, Rosenstein ahead of Cohen testimony MORE (D-Md.) and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall Dems demand briefing, intel on North Korea nuclear talks Venezuela puts spotlight on Rubio 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 BidenHarry Reid says he won’t make 2020 endorsement until after Nevada caucus Hillary Clinton met with Biden, Klobuchar to talk 2020: report The Hill's Morning Report - What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds down 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.