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House panel is said to plan meeting with Trump campaign foreign policy adviser in Russia probe

WASHINGTON -- Walid Phares, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, is set to be questioned in private Friday by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian election interference, according to officials familiar with the panel's plans.

Phares worked in Trump's campaign alongside advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, "both of whom had multiple contacts with Russian officials and their surrogates that they reported back to the campaign," said Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a letter to Phares last month.

Papadopoulos is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in last year's presidential election, and interactions with Trump associates. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to lying to investigators.

According to one of Mueller's court filings, at least two high-level Trump campaign supervisors, and other officials, were aware of Papadopoulos' contacts and communications with the Russians.

The officials didn't say what questions lawmakers want to ask Phares, now a Fox News analyst. But Feinstein's Nov. 27 letter to Phares shows why the House panel is likely interested. She wrote that he reportedly was among Trump campaign aides who met with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Republican National Convention in 2016, along with J.D. Gordon, the director of the Trump campaign's national security advisory committee, and Page.

 

--Bloomberg News

Rep. Devin Nunes cleared by ethics panel after complaint he divulged classified info

WASHINGTON -- The House Ethics Committee on Thursday cleared House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California of any wrongdoing after a complaint that he had disclosed classified information related to the House's Russia investigation.

When the complaint was filed, Nunes said he would step away from leading the House's investigation into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, though he did not formally recuse himself.

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