Former Trump official Epshteyn testifies in House Russia probe

Former Trump official Epshteyn testifies in House Russia probe
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Former Trump campaign adviser and White House communications official Boris Epshteyn interviewed behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, the latest in a string of interviews with associates of the president. 

Epshteyn, who resigned from the White House in March without explanation, has drawn attention for his apparent dismissal of the intelligence community's assessment that Moscow tried to influence the 2016 presidential election. 

“You would have to ask Russia if they tried to meddle. … Whether there was an attempt at meddling, again, how would I know?” Epshteyn said in a recent interview with Bill Maher. 

“If you have a problem with how the president is handling his foreign policy, you can speak at the ballot box in three and a half years.”

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The House committee is one of a slate of panels investigating Russian election meddling, including whether there was any coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. 

The interview of Epshteyn, which lasted several hours, drew far less interest than a theatrical appearance by former campaign advisor Roger Stone on Tuesday. Although multiple committee Democrats filed into the committee's secure spaces on Thursday morning, only two Republicans — chairman Devin Nunes (Calif.) and Tom Rooney (Fla.) — later walked into the basement chambers. 

Rooney arrived a quarter of an hour after committee Democrats and it's unlikely Nunes participated. Nunes, who stepped back from leading the probe earlier this year, was scheduled to meet with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein on a separate matter. He declined on entering to answer questions from reporters and appeared to leave before the end of the interview. 

Epshteyn slipped in and out of the interview space through a back entrance, evading reporters. 

Epshteyn, who grew up in Moscow, is fluent in Russian. He met Trump's son, Eric Trump, at Georgetown University, where Epshteyn received a law degree. 

Known for his combative television appearances on behalf of the president, he is reported to have sparked tense relationships with journalists behind the scenes and in green rooms. 

He now works as a political analyst at the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcasting.