- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland on Tuesday said the level of White House involvement into the congressional probe of potential contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign is “highly unusual.”

“Let the investigators do their jobs, let it go,” Mr. Cummings, a Democrat, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe program.

Democrats and the White House have been trading barbs throughout the investigation, with President Trump urging people to look at the “unmasking” of campaign officials swept up in U.S. surveillance operations against foreign targets as the real story.

The Obama administration’s national security adviser played a central role in “unmasking” several Trump campaign officials who had been swept up in U.S. surveillance operations against foreign targets during last year’s presidential election campaign, according to current White House officials and sources on Capitol Hill.

They said Tuesday that Susan E. Rice requested that names be provided for otherwise unidentified U.S. people in dozens of raw intelligence reports relating to the Trump campaign.

While Ms. Rice’s actions and alleged interest in the Trump campaign appear to have been within her legal authority as national security adviser, the potentially explosive revelation has touched a nerve in Washington and stirred speculation that she could be called to testify on Capitol Hill about Russian election meddling.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, told CNN the reports bolstered his call for an independent investigation of alleged Russian meddling and associated issues, arguing it would amount to a dereliction of duty if Ms. Rice did any unmasking “for political reasons.”

Yet Mr. Cummings said he’s concerned about the level of Mr. Trump’s involvement in the probe, from Twitter attacks to reports that Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leading the investigation, met with White House sources to discuss the unmasking.

“I practiced law for over 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Mr. Cummings said.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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