NY Times: Russians discussed how to influence Trump via his aides

John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington

John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington

The California congressman added that he is skeptical Flynn would be granted immunity in exchange for his testimony and information, something the former national security adviser has requested from the committees.

Last summer, USA spies gathered intelligence that senior Russian officials were talking about how they could, through Donald Trump's advisers, influence his opinion of Russia, according to a New York Times report.

Despite much of the discussion revolving around the investigation of Trump and his campaign associates, Schiff had some criticism for President Obama's handling of Russia's meddling in the election.

The report also said, however, that it is not clear whether Russian officials had directly tried to influence Manafort or Flynn.

Mr Brennan's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee gave a much clearer view of how seriously U.S. intelligence took the Russian threat, and why the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating it in July a year ago, well before the country was aware of the allegations.

"It should be clear to everyone that Russian Federation brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process", Brennan said on Tuesday, "and that they undertook these activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning that they do not do so".

The report is also evidence that the Russians were well aware that Trump is easily influenced by those around him and has no core convictions.

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Three White House officials said the president's chief of staff has privately expressed concerns about a possible memo compiled by ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey about one of their reported conversations, reported The Daily Beast. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations and Trump denies any collusion. The Times says some of the officials bragged about ties to Flynn.

Both of the former Trump advisers have denied colluding with the Russian government to sway the election.

"The Fifth Amendment right not to provide materials or documents is limited", Schiff said at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor in Washington. Others talked of using their ties to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician who was living in exile in Russia for whom Manafort had worked as a top campaign adviser.

But Burr disagreed and said the committee has sent a letter to Flynn's lawyers questioning the legal basis for his refusal to cooperate with the request for documents.

The attorneys said that Flynn had made a decision to avail himself of Fifth Amendment protection and refuse to provide documents requested by the Senate and considered to be relevant to its own investigation into the Russian matter.

First, Warner said the committee is directing the new subpoenas at two of Flynn's businesses because they do not have the right to plead the Fifth.

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