Grassley defends handling of Russian Federation investigation

View shows Kremlin towers and St. Basil's Cathedral in central Moscow   Thomson Reuters

"And that leaves some very important questions unanswered".

Finger-pointing and acrimony surrounding probes of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election intensified Thursday, with the Trump White House and Democratic lawmakers trading accusations of undermining and manipulating investigations that require bipartisan buy-in to succeed.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Wednesday he hopes President Donald Trump does not try to direct him to "take control" of the Russian Federation probe.

Trump, speaking alongside Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in May after he fired James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, reacted to the appointment of a special counsel by saying, "Well, I respect the move but the entire thing has been a witch hunt".

As of Thursday, the committee had interviewed 56 witnesses, the outlet reported.

Grassley, the Iowa Republican who leads Senate oversight of the Justice Department, was responding to a tweet from Trump where the President called on his party to "take control" of the probe into potential coordination between his associates and Russian Federation, insisting it is the "single greatest" witch hunt in USA history. An attorney for Trump Jr couldn't be reached for comment, and an Ivanka Trump attorney had no immediate comment.

Tunisian govt hopes that days of food protests are subsiding
At least 237 were arrested and 49 policemen wounded as violence continued to sprawl through the country for a second night. A Jewish school on the island of Djerba was badly damaged after being hit with petrol bombs, although no one was injured.

", because none of that means anything, except 'look over here, '" Smith said.

And Schiff says the committee needs to press Attorney General Jeff Sessions over key questions he did not answer, including whether the President took steps to hinder the Russian Federation investigation.

"This investigation has gone about 1/4 of the time of the Benghazi investigations", Schiff said, referring to the GOP-led inquiries after the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. "He couldn't change the libel laws if he wanted to change the libel laws, he couldn't change them if he got the Congress in there". "There are witnesses who have knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting and what it was about who have not been brought to our committee - and need to".

Schiff blamed House intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif, who stepped aside from the probe for several months while the House Ethics Committee investigated whether Nunes had divulged classified information.

"Without getting complete phone records. we will not get a full picture of what conversations may have taken place between the president and his son contemporaneous with the Trump Tower meeting", Schiff said.

It "would be valuable to have [Ivanka] come and testify before the committee", he added, according to Politico.

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