House Intel Committee invites Obama admin officials to Russia hearings

PHOTO: Sally Yates speaks during a press conference at the Department of Justice, June 28, 2016, in Washington. PlayPete Marovich/Getty Images
WATCH Officials: Sophisticated Russian disinformation campaign targeted US election

The House Intelligence Committee has invited a number of former senior Obama administration officials, including former acting attorney general Sally Yates, to testify before the panel in a public setting, the latest indication that the committee is working to put its Russia investigation back on track after Chairman Devin Nunes stepped away from the probe.

In a pair of letters, ranking Democrat Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.), and Rep. Mike Conaway, (R-Texas), invited FBI Director Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers of the National Security Agency to testify behind closed doors on May 2, and requested former CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Yates to appear in public before the panel at a later date.

Nunes withdrew from the committee’s broad investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as he faced a series of ethics complaints charging that he revealed classified information without authorization.

The California Republican has disputed the allegations, which were made after he announced that Trump campaign associates may have been picked up "incidentally in intelligence surveillance of foreign targets."

Several White House officials played a role in revealing the documents behind Nunes’s announcement, which he viewed on White House grounds the day before his comments.

The disclosure, and calls for his recusal, had stopped the committee’s work in its tracks several weeks ago.

As they return to Washington next week, Democrats and Republicans on the secretive panel hope to keep their heads down and conduct their investigation without political distractions.

"Let’s just get back to work," said Rep. Mike Quigley, (D-Ill.), in an interview after his trip to Cyprus to review Russian money laundering as part of the committee’s investigation. "There’s hopeful optimism that we get this back on track."

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