House Intel chair Devin Nunes retains subpoena power in Russian Federation inquiry
A House intelligence committee staffer says the panel recently issued a subpoena to President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, as part of its ongoing investigation into Russia’s election meddling.
According to US intelligence agencies, the committee “requested five to six unmaskings of USA organizations or individuals related to Trump or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton between June 2016 and January 2017”, The Washington Post reports.
The Journal reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee will soon hear testimony, possibly next week, from fired FBI Director James Comey about whether President Trump asked him to “back off” investigating “Russiagate”.
As committee chairman, Nunes signed off on them all.
The House panel was set to interview 10 witnesses this month, but has put them on hold after the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., objected, according to Politico, which cited two unnamed sources.
Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes. The subpoenas went to the agencies and not to those individuals personally, and it’s unclear whether requests for the same information were sent out prior to the subpoenas. The committee had given no indication that the intelligence community was uncooperative, and Schiff said Nunes never consulted him before issuing the subpoenas.
The focus of the probe is on whether such a meeting took place on April 27, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where Trump delivered his first major foreign policy address, CNN reported.
“Unmasking” is revealing the identity of individuals or organizations whose conversations or other data are caught up in the massive monitoring of overseas calls and other communications by USA intelligence agencies.
The House intelligence committee said May 31, it is issuing subpoenas for President Donald Trumpâ€™s former national security adviser and his personal lawyer, Cohen, as well as their businesses as part of its investigation into Russian activities during last year’s election.
“While Mr. Conaway leads the Russian Federation investigation, Mr. Nunes remains the chairman of the Intel Committee and has the right and responsibility to conduct oversight of the intelligence community, especially as it relates to the potential misuse of intelligence agencies against Americans”, said AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
After a series of missteps that included a secret visit to the White House to view classified documents, House Democrats had been calling on the Tulare Republican to recuse himself from the investigation.
But Nunes’ actions over the last month have Democrats complaining he is violating the spirit of his promise to step aside from leading the investigation.
“I think the agencies are cooperating with us and have not attempted to withhold any information from us”, he said.
On Thursday ThinkProgress reported “Devin Nunes and Trump are still working together in attempt to manufacture [an] “unmasking” scandal”.
“That’s the obvious motive”, the aide said, adding that Nunes told the Democrats “super last minute” about his unmasking subpoenas.
The panel also authorized subpoenas for Flynn’s and Cohen’s companies, Flynn Intel LLC and Michael D. Cohen and Associates PC. Among the payments was more than $33,000 Flynn received from RT, the Russian state-sponsored television network that USA intelligence officials have branded as a propaganda arm of the Kremlin.