House Intel Committee Democrat wants to investigate Russian lobbyist in Trump Tower meeting
DenKuvaiev/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee wants to investigate the naturalization of Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, who has emerged as a key figure in the Russia investigations following his meeting in Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort in 2016.
“I certainly want his naturalization looked at. I’d like to find out how committed he is to the United States over Russia,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said in an interview.
“I’d certainly like to ask him questions under penalty of perjury,” said Speier, who said she didn’t know whether Akhmetshin had been contacted by congressional investigators.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has asked the Department of Homeland Security and State Department for Akhmetshin’s immigration and visa records, and is investigating whether his travel raised any red flags when he applied for citizenship.
“Failing to disclose or willfully misrepresenting information to obtain an immigration benefit can lead to a finding of inadmissibility, or denaturalization if the individual has already obtained citizenship,” Grassley wrote in his July letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.
Speier recently traveled to Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Hungary with the House Intelligence Committee, and said the trip provided “background” for the panel’s ongoing Russia investigation.
“It shapes my understanding of our intelligence responsibilities vis-a-vis Russia and what Putin is doing in these countries to ingratiate himself, and what he does to gain both visibility and allegiance,” she said.
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