Rep. Mike Rogers is retiring at the end of his term, but he is not resigning early from his position as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — despite a news report Thursday evening saying the Michigan Republican would.
The Hill had reported Rogers would serve an abbreviated term as chairman. His spokeswoman quickly denied that report. “He is not stepping down as Chairman of the House Intel Committee,” Susan Phalen said via email Thursday night.
Rogers, in a surprise move, announced early Friday morning that he would retire in November to begin a new career as a talk radio host.“They may have lost my vote in Congress, but you haven’t lost my voice,” Rogers told WJR-AM radio this morning, according to Detroit News.
Before Rogers departs from the helm of the powerful congressional committee, he is seeking some major legislative reforms to the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of millions of U.S. phone calls.
Rogers has been a highly visible figure in the recent debate over the NSA’s once-secret surveillance programs. Earlier this week, Rogers introduced a bill along with the panel’s top Democrat, Dutch Ruppersberger, to allow the agency’s vast database of phone records to stay in the hands of the phone companies. House Speaker John Boehner indicated he plans to allow a vote on that legislation.
Rogers has been a fierce defender of the NSA after former contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the once-secret surveillance programs — and sparked widespread concerns about Americans’ privacy. Rogers, according to the Detroit News, said the program was being changed “based on a perception, not a reality.”“We think that we have found a way to end the government bulk collection of telephone metadata and still provide a mechanism to protect the United States,” Rogers said.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."