House Democrats to probe whether Trump associates held sway at VA

Democrats on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs have opened an investigation into whether three individuals with ties to the president influenced hiring decisions at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, The Hill reports.

Three things to know:

1. Committee chairman Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., issued a letter to the VA Feb. 8 announcing the investigation and requesting information on potential correspondence between VA officials and three associates of President Donald Trump. One of the individuals is a member of Mr. Trump's Palm Beach, Fla., resort Mar-a-Lago, while another reportedly retains "privileges" there, according to The Wall Street Journal.

2. A representative for the three individuals told WSJ the men are innocent of the allegations and are willing to cooperate with the investigation.

3. Emails obtained by the WSJ show that former VA chief David Shulkin, MD, created a private email account solely to contact the three individuals. However, the men told the publication they only communicated with Dr. Shulkin to provide advice.

"Our only goal was to help improve veterans' care. We didn't seek or receive any personal or financial gain. We never imagined that volunteering our personal time to improving veterans' healthcare would open us up to criticism," the men said in a joint statement to WSJ. "We never sought to exert influence over anyone at the VA. That wasn't our purpose."

To access the full report, click here.

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