House will call spy hunters to testify about Trump campaign, Russia contacts

Intel Committee chair Adam Schiff said he wants "to explain to the American people the serious counterintelligence concerns raised by the Mueller Report."
Image: Robert Mueller
Special counsel Robert Mueller speaks about the Russia investigation at the Department of Justice on May 29, 2019.Carolyn Kaster / AP file

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By Ken Dilanian

WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee will hold the first of a series of public hearings on the Mueller report next week — this one featuring former FBI spy hunters talking about the implications of the dozens of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"As part of this series of hearings and testimony, the Committee plans to speak with fact witnesses, national security experts, and others connected to the Special Counsel's investigation to elucidate the issues and findings in the first volume of the report," a committee spokesman said in a statement.

The first of the hearings is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, said spokesman Patrick Boland. The committee is slated to hear testimony from Stephanie Douglas and Robert Anderson, each of whom served as executive assistant directors of the National Security Branch of the FBI. That’s the group that conducts counterintelligence investigations, including tracking foreign spies in the United States and their efforts to recruit and coopt Americans.

Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, said his goal is "to explain to the American people the serious counterintelligence concerns raised by the Mueller Report, examine the depth and breadth of the unethical and unpatriotic conduct it describes, and produce prescriptive remedies to ensure that this never happens again. That is a tall task, but it begins with a detailed focus on the facts laid out in the Special Counsel's report."

The president and his allies have said that the line in the Mueller report saying that "the investigation did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities" amounted to a finding of innocence. But Schiff and other Democrats point out that the counterintelligence questions raised by the Trump-Russia relationship, including whether the president himself is compromised or unduly influenced by Russia for financial or other reasons — was left out of the report.

The Mueller report says FBI agents working in Mueller's office regularly sent counterintelligence reports back to headquarters, but it says nothing about the contents of those presumably classified reports.

Trump tweeted Friday: "Nervous Nancy & Dems are getting Zero work done in Congress....and have no intention of doing anything other going on a fishing expedition to see if they can find anything on me — both illegal & unprecedented in U.S. history."