House intel panel to subpoena Trump lawyer, former aide
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 03, 2017,
Jun 03, 2017, 0:10
Committee aides complained that the chairman, Representative Devin Nunes, who publicly recused himself from leading the Russian Federation probe in April following a secret visit he paid to White House officials, failed to consult Democrats on the subpoenas.
"If the speaker wants to allow this type of thing to go on, that's up to him", Schiff said Monday on MSNBC. Democrats have pushed Nunes to relinquish his power over subpoenas - the strongest tool they have to use in their investigative toolbox - and instead hand the power to the new leader of the House Russian probe, Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas.
It was unclear why the subpoenas to the agencies were not mentioned in the committee's announcement of the approval of the subpoenas to former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen, one of the president's personal lawyers.
The Republican-controlled committee, led by temporary Nunes replacement Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Tex.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), also issued four other subpoenas focused on Russian Federation.
During his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions testified that he "did not have any communications with the Russians" during the campaign and said in a written statement given to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was not in contact with anyone linked to the Russian government during the campaign. A GOP congressional aide said that the unmasking investigation was now considered separate from the Russian Federation probe, allowing Mr. Nunes to act on his own authority even while recused. Early Wednesday morning, the president tweeted "Witch Hunt!" in reference to testimony by Comey and former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan before Congress on the topic. "Any prior requests for information would have been undertaken without the minority's knowledge", said a senior Democratic committee aide.
A similar back-and-forth occurred before the testimony last month of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, though the White House said it did not try to block her appearance.
"He's not involved in the Russian Federation investigation".
At the beginning of April, Democrats were accusing Nunes of coordinating with the Trump White House to derail the House Russia probe.
At a Wednesday briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said inquiries about the Russian Federation investigation must be directed to Trump's longtime personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz. Flynn's attorneys had argued the request was too broad and would have required Flynn to turn over information that could have been used against him.
"Chairman Nunes has offered to step aside as the lead Republican on this particular probe, and I fully support his decision", Ryan said at the time. "The gift is called Trey Gowdy", Nunes said in audio of a speech to fellow California Republicans obtained by the Los Angeles Times this week.
In addition to those four subpoenas, the committee issued three others to the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the CIA for information about requests that government officials made to unmask the identities of USA individuals named in classified intelligence reports.
Asked why he was still reviewing intelligence on Russia, Nunes replied, "I don't talk about intelligence", according to CNN.