House Intel Committee Issues New Subpoenas
- Author: Nancy Warren Jun 05, 2017,
Jun 05, 2017, 8:06
The House Intelligence Committee has reportedly issued seven subpoenas in connection with its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and of the Obama administration's potentially illegal use of the government's foreign-intelligence-collection power for the objective of monitoring Americans - in particular, Americans connected to the Trump campaign and transition.
Congressional sources said the subpoenas requested the intelligence agencies to provide details of any requests made by two top Obama administration officials and the former CIA director to "unmask" the names of Trump campaign advisers inadvertently captured in top-secret foreign communications intercepts.
As Trump was tweeting Thursday, Nunes was sending subpoenas to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the CIA, and the National Security Agency for documents related to Rice and the Obama administration's unmasking requests. "Any prior requests for information would have been undertaken without the minority's knowledge", said a senior Democratic committee aide.
Nunes recused himself when several groups filed complaints against him with the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation, after Nunes reviewed controversial intelligence documents on White House grounds in March.
There were seven subpoenas related to the investigation issued today in total: four on the Russian Federation probe and three related to unmasking requests.
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The Senate Intelligence Committee voted unanimously on May 25 to authorise its chairman, Republican Senator Richard Burr, and its top-ranking Democratic, Mark Warner, to issue subpoenas that would force the attorney to respond to their demands.
"Subpoenas related to the "unmasking" issue would have been sent by Chairman Nunes acting separately from the committee's Russian Federation investigation". Schiff said committee rules allow Nunes to delegate that authority to Conaway.
The subpoenas were announced Wednesday as the special counsel overseeing the government's investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation has approved former FBI Director James Comey testifying before the Senate intelligence committee, according to a Comey associate.
USA privacy laws and intelligence regulations require that Americans' names picked up in foreign communications intercepts be concealed unless senior officials request them to be disclosed for intelligence or law enforcement purposes. She says she shared her objection with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Schiff said that in both Sessions' and Nunes' cases, "commitments to recuse themselves have not been fully honored".
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According to advisers, however, Trump is finding it challenging to recruit new aides as he considers casting off old ones. Trump has privately and publicly pinned much of the blame for his administration's woes on the communications effort.
The president's tweet also comes after White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) directed any queries about the Russian Federation investigations to Trump's outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz.
So far, Rice has not denied unmasking Trump associates, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted to doing so during a hearing last month.
The subpoenas related to the committee's unmasking investigation were issued by Nunes alone.
"A spokesman for Nunes would not comment beyond a tweet the chairman sent on Thursday afternoon, which said: "Seeing a lot of fake news from media elites and others who have no interest in violations of Americans" civil liberties via unmaskings". Now it is in the hands of the investigators, and they must be left to do their work properly and without interference by Mr. Trump - or Mr. Nunes. "I only learned about this late the night before, and that's a problem", Schiff said.
Democrats on the committee criticized the move, saying they didn't consent to the unmasking subpoenas.
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