I have prepared this list of definitions to help decipher the article I have written on the US investigation into members of Trump’s team who have ties with Russia. The intelligence committees were initially asked by Obama to look into allegations of Russian cyber attacks and hacking of Democrat e-mail servers which may have influenced the US election, scuppering Hillary Clinton’s chances.
Most recently, this has hit the news because of the resignation of US security adviser, Michael Flynn. He is accused of giving classified information to the Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, in a number of phone calls in December, prior to Trump’s inauguration. He initially denied this but calls have been recorded and Flynn subsequently admitted that he may have mentioned the issue of continued US sanctions, proposed by Obama, following the Russian hacking during the electoral campaign.
Here is the article:
Firstly, what is a Select Committee?
According to the US Senate website, a select or special committee is a ‘committee established by the Senate for a limited period of time to perform a particular study or investigation. These committees might be given or denied authority to report legislation to the Senate’.
Types of Committees
There are three main types of committees in Congress: (1) standing; (2) select or special and (3) joint. The duty of these committees include gathering information; comparing and evaluating legislative alternatives; identifying policy problems; proposing solutions; identifying, deciding, and reporting measures for full chamber consideration; monitoring executive branch performance (oversight); and investigating allegations of wrongdoing.
What are the functions of the three?
The committees are sometimes referred to as ‘little legislatures’ as they constitute the primary unit of the legislative process, recommending it for consideration.
The following link gives a good and brief insight into the different types of US Committees. There is also some comparison with those in the UK at the end:
The following link gives a list of previous select committee investigations. It only goes up to 1989 but does include the Watergate scandal under President Nixon in 1973-74:
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