Trump Russia: House intelligence committee agrees inquiry

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Trump opponents have mocked his relations with the Russian president

A US congressional committee has agreed a bi-partisan investigation into Russia's alleged interference in last year's US elections.

The House intelligence panel inquiry will scrutinise contacts between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Moscow, members confirmed.

Until now, Republican senators had been reluctant to agree to Democratic Party demands for the inquiry.

The White House denies any improper behaviour during the election campaign.

The FBI and the Senate intelligence committee are also looking into claims of Russian meddling in the US election.

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Image copyright AP Image caption Mr Flynn was pictured dining with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in December 2015

The panel said in a statement that its Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, and Democratic member Adam Schiff had agreed to the investigation.

It will seek answers to questions including: "Did the Russian active measures include links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns or any other US Persons?"

The House committee will also focus on Russian cyber-activity and possible US intelligence leaks on the allegations.

President Trump has been dogged by questions about his advisers' ties to Moscow since the campaign. The White House has strongly denied the claims.

The Associated Press news agency reports that White House lawyers instructed Mr Trump's staff on Tuesday to preserve materials that could be connected to Russian interference in November's election.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said last week: "There is real concern that some in the administration may try to cover up its ties to Russia by deleting emails, texts and other records that could shine a light on those connections."

The US intelligence community concluded that alleged Russian hacking of Democratic organisations was carried out to help Mr Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump's National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, was fired this month after he misled the White House about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US, allegedly regarding sanctions.

BBC

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