Republicans are moving against reports of increased staff for the House probe into Russian election interference, saying there has been no increase in staff for the investigation.
"Today, we are bringing on board additional staffing resources to continue our investigation into the Russian active measures during the 2016 election, and ensure our vital oversight work over the Intelligence Community remains strong," Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Tuesday, according to Politico.
However, unnamed Republican congressional sources told Politico on Friday that Schiff's announcement was misleading.
"It's a sleight-of-hand thing," one said. "They're adding the staff anyway. It had nothing to do with the Russia investigation."
Only 13 committee staffers are permitted access to classified information related to the Russia investigation, eight Republicans and five Democrats.
The committee could actually hire more staff "and say they're for the Russia investigation," the source added, "but they're not, because they can't review any of the documents."
The intelligence committee is set to receive a large funding bump, from $9.2 million to $12.1 million. During a hearing to request the increase, Schiff and committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., referenced various threats to the United States, including Russia, but did not specifically mention the investigation.
Schiff said later the additional staff, although they cannot look at materials related to the investigation, "allows us to devote people to Russia and take away their oversight responsibilities. It's essentially all contributing to both Russia and our oversight."
Nunes, who recused himself from the investigation in April, did not comment on the story. Neither did Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who took over leadership of the probe in his stead.
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