House committee issues subpoenas; Comey OK'd to testify

Austin Daniel
June 5, 2017

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is violating his own recusal amid the panel's investigation into Russia's 2016 election meddling, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged Friday.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes continues to be a powerful force in the House's Russian Federation investigation, despite his promise that he was stepping aside as the head of the probe as he came under scrutiny himself from the House ethics committee.

On Capitol Hill, a rift continued between Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the chairman of the House intelligence committee, and Democrats on the panel. They seek information about Obama administration requests to unmask the identities of Americans named in foreign intelligence reports.

"While (Texas Rep. Mike) 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 Ryan spokeswoman.

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 US individuals named in classified intelligence reports.

Of course, the fact that a subpoena demanding information is issued does not necessarily mean the information exists.

ANYONE PAYING attention to the mushrooming investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election campaign and President Trump's possible ties to Moscow will have noticed that this is not a simple story. "Anyone suggesting that interviews should take place before the committee has a chance to review the relevant documents plainly and does not have the best interests of the investigation in mind", he further said.

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Nunes reportedly hasn't always been so opposed to the practice.

According to people familiar with those notes, the president in February pressed Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Nunes based his suspicions on his knowledge of Obama's nat sec adviser Susan Rice's unmasking of Trump transition officials incidentally surveilled as part of standard surveillance on Russian agents.

Nunes spoke the day after he stepped down from his role in the Russian Federation investigation after coming under pressure over a visit to the White House to discuss classified material.

Unmasking refers to an internal process within the classified world by which names the names of Americans that are collected while another target is being spied upon are uncovered at the request of intelligence agencies. Congressional investigators continue to press for key documents in the ongoing investigation, and the retired lieutenant general is trying to limit damaging disclosures that hostile Democratic lawmakers could use against him.

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017...case against him & now wants to clear his name by showing "the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan..." They "went out without consultation with the minority".

Former White House staffer Boris Epshteyn confirmed he has been contacted for information as part of the House investigation. Nunes also issued three subpoenas to intelligence agencies for documents about former Obama administration officials who authorized the earlier unmasking, apparently without committee Democrats signing off on the subpoenas.

But Ryan chose not to strip Nunes of his chairmanship of the committee, and as chairman he retains the right to issue subpoenas without the consent of Democrats or the full committee.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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