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Thursday, June 13, 2019 1:00 am

Report details Russian spycraft

Associated Press


Hicks agrees to panel interview

WASHINGTON – Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks has agreed to a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee, the panel announced Wednesday.

The panel subpoenaed Hicks last month as part of its investigation into special counsel Robert Mueller's report and obstruction of justice. The interview will be held June 19 and a transcript will be released.

The appearance is a breakthrough for the panel, which has been holding hearings with experts as Trump has broadly obstructed congressional investigations. Hicks, a longtime aide to Trump, is mentioned throughout Mueller's report.

WASHINGTON – Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election bore some of the textbook tricks of the trade of Kremlin spycraft, including the volume and breadth of contacts with Trump associates, former FBI officials told lawmakers Wednesday in the latest congressional hearing dedicated to special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report.

The two officials, Robert Anderson and Stephanie Douglas, highlighted aspects of the Mueller report they said showed Russian efforts to vet and test Trump campaign associates, to establish back channels of communications and to spread their contacts around in hopes of maximizing their chances of getting what they wanted.

“It is an absolute classic tradecraft of Russia and Russian intelligence services. They'll never have one point of failure,” said Anderson, a former FBI executive assistant director who used to supervise counterintelligence investigations.

“If they're looking to try to obtain or pass information or potentially even influence information, they'll make sure that they have numerous aspects or points to where they can try to get that done.”

The House Intelligence Committee invited the ex-officials to testify about the counterintelligence implications of Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign. Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russia but did detail a series of interactions and outreach that have alarmed Democrats and accelerated calls from some in the party for impeachment proceedings and renewed investigations.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic committee chairman, noted in his opening remarks that Mueller detailed more than 100 contacts between Russia and associates of the president.

Among the interactions was a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower during which the president's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., expected to receive dirt on his father's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Also Wednesday, Trump Jr. arrived on Capitol Hill for a second closed-door interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senators wanted to discuss answers he gave to the panel's staff in a 2017 interview and to another Senate panel in a separate interview that year.

Schiff said Wednesday he wants to know whether the FBI is still investigating Russian election interference, and he threatened to subpoena FBI Director Christopher Wray for information.