The decision to cancel this week's House Intelligence Committee had "a lot to do" with anticipated testimony from former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, the committee's top California Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, said Wednesday, while admitting he doesn't have any "particular evidence" to back up that belief.
"The timing certainly raises a lot of questions, and the fact that the hearing was canceled abruptly without any explanation causes a lot of us to ask what's going on here, why we aren't going forward with this hearing," the California lawmaker told "CBS This Morning."
Last Monday's hearing, where both FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers "rebutted the White House claims about illegal wiretapping by Barack Obama," may also have had something to do with the second open hearing being canceled, Schiff said.
"I think the White House probably felt that didn't go well for them, but it's otherwise hard to understand why the cancelation," said Schiff. "I think it has a lot to do with Sally Yates."
Schiff also called for committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., to recuse himself from the committee's ongoing probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election, saying Nunes is too close to the White House.
"He was an important member of the transition team, and I think he's maintained that position with the White House," said Schiff. "That has caused a lot of questions to be raised about whether he can fairly and impartially lead in this investigation.
"They called it so seriously into question that he really ought to recuse himself, in particular if he's raising an issue about whether members of the transition team were incidentally collected."
There is a "real conflict of interest" where Nunes is involved, continued Schiff, and he thinks it would be in the best interest of the investigation if the committee had another leader.
But as for now, the investigation needs to get back on track, said Schiff, and "the majority can start out by rescheduling this hearing. We've urged them to do that, but we have yet to hear back."
Schiff said he wanted to hear testimony from Yates about the events leading up to the firing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Yates herself was fired in January after she directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend Trumps first travel ban in court.
"What concerns me is, according to newspaper accounts, she brought information to the White House that indicated that Mike Flynn had lied about a conversation he had with a Russian ambassador, and not just about any topic," said Schiff.
"This was on the subject, at least apparently according to reports, of the sanctions President Barack Obama imposed on Russia . . . it led to his firing."
There was a period of time, he continued, in which Trump was "aware Michael Flynn had lied and he had misrepresented the country and the president did nothing about it."
Flynn handed in his letter of resignation on Feb. 13.
"I think those facts were facts the White House did not want to come out in this open hearing," said Schiff.
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