The former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Monday that he doesn’t believe the panel should be conducting an investigation into the president’s finances, saying other House committees are better suited to run a financial probe.
Former Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersThe 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions Hillicon Valley: Kremlin seeks more control over Russian internet | Huawei CEO denies links to Chinese government | Facebook accused of exposing health data | Harris calls for paper ballots | Twitter updates ad rules ahead of EU election MORE (R-Mich.), who led the panel from 2011 to 2015, said at an event hosted by the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy and International Security that he thinks the committee should focus more on oversight for intelligence issues.
“I feel pretty strongly that the intelligence committee is not the place to be investigating finances of ‘fill in the blank,’” Rogers said.
He said that he knows “for a fact” that the committee in its current state is not conducting the kind of oversight for the intelligence community that it should be, suggesting that it is distracted by related topics that are better left to be probed by other areas of Congress.
The House Intelligence Committee, now headed by chairman Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff: ‘Mistake’ if Trump doesn’t testify under oath in Russia investigation Schiff: Erik Prince did not disclose 2016 Trump Tower meeting to Intelligence Committee The Memo: Team Trump insists Dem probes could ‘boomerang’ MORE (D-Calif.), is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
A Democratic committee aide confirmed to The Hill late last month that the panel is planning on calling Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg in for questioning, after Trump’s former attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenOversight Dem: ‘I imagine’ chairman will ask for investigation into Cohen for alleged perjury A deal for Trump: Take North Korea’s offer and build upon it The Memo: Team Trump insists Dem probes could ‘boomerang’ MORE repeatedly referenced Weisselberg during a public hearing with the House Oversight Committee.
Cohen, who spent two days privately interviewing with the House Intelligence Committee in recent weeks, had repeatedly cited Weisselberg in his testimony implicating the president in a plot to make hush-money payments to two women alleging affairs with President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg: ‘I have more years of government experience under my belt’ than Trump Tucker Carlson says he won’t apologize for comments in resurfaced radio interview Buttigieg calls Pence ‘cheerleader for the porn star presidency’ MORE ahead of the 2016 election.
Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who served as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee for eight years in the 2000s, noted that there were “abuses or misbehaviors” under Republican leadership during the previous leadership.
Former committee chairman Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesNunes warns of the ‘straw police’ in California Koch-backed group pushes for new limits on Trump’s tariff authority House Dems demand records from Trump’s communications with Putin MORE (R-Calif.) recused himself from the Russia probe after it was revealed he made a private trip to the White House to view documents he said showed the inappropriate unmasking of transition team officials. His decision to share information with the White House was considered proof of his bias.
Harman, now serving as president and CEO of the Wilson Center, said that the current effort to conduct investigations like that into the president’s finances could be “an overcorrection.”
But she said that she believes there will be some “course corrections” to bring bipartisanship back to the intelligence panel.
Both former Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate intelligence panels, including former Sens. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William Nelson2020 party politics in Puerto Rico There is no winning without Latinos as part of your coalition Dem 2020 candidates court Puerto Rico as long nomination contest looms MORE (D-Fla.) and Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissSenate buzz grows for Abrams after speech electrifies Dems Ossoff tests waters for Georgia Senate run CIA’s ‘surveillance state’ is operating against us all MORE (R-Ga.), also indicated at the event that they believed the House committee has become too partisan and political.
“I think it’s dysfunctional at a very high level,” Rogers said of the panel in its current form.
And Harman said that while lawmakers on the intelligence committee shouldn’t necessarily seek press attention about their investigative work, it appears that current House members are using the high-profile nature of the current Russia probes to their advantage.
“The House is a perpetual election machine,” she said, adding that the lawmakers “want to hit the microphones and be visible, and there’s pressure to do that.”
“And when some of them do that it’s pressure on others” to do the same, Harman added.