A day after former National Security Adviser retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn reportedly agreed to turn over documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday issued a new set of subpoenas seeking similar information.
The House subpoenas approved on Wednesday seek “testimony, personal documents and business records” from Flynn and President Donald Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen.
News reports said that the committee also had subpoenaed three former officials in a probe into whether Obama administration officials improperly unmasked the identities of Americans monitored in contacts with foreign officials. Those subpoenas reportedly went to Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, his U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, and his CIA director, John Brennan.
But a senior committee aide said he could not confirm that those subpoenas had been issued, and he added that if they had been, it was not with the agreement of the Democratic members of the panel or as part of the committee’s Russia probe.
“If the reports are accurate, subpoenas related to the ‘unmasking’ issue would have been sent by Chairman Nunes acting separately from the committee’s Russia investigation,” the aide said in an email, referring to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who recused himself from the Russia probe after the House Ethics Committee said it was investigating him for improperly revealing classified information. The aide declined to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss committee activities publicly.
Nunes, who was a member of Trump’s transition team, had raised the topic of unmasking – the practice of identifying by name individuals mentioned in surveillance transcripts – after the committee heard testimony March 20 from then FBI director James Comey that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during last year’s election campaign.
The leaders of the committee’s Russia investigation, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., did not mention the subpoenas to former Obama administration officials in their statement about the probe.
“We hope and expect that anyone called to testify or provide documents will comply with that request, so that we may gain all the information within the scope of our investigation. We will continue to pursue this investigation wherever the facts may lead,” their statement said.
Frequently, individuals who go along a treasonous path do not even realize they are on that path until it gets to be a bit too late, and that’s why my radar goes up early when I see certain things
ormer CIA Director John Brennan
Flynn refused earlier subpoenas by congressional committees on Fifth Amendment grounds, protecting his right not to incriminate himself.
Flynn, who served as Trump’s national security adviser for a mere 24 days, has featured in many of the investigation’s most compelling events. A former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency who left the Pentagon at odds with Obama, he was brought into the Trump team not long after returning from a trip to Russia on behalf of the Russian channel RT. U.S. intelligence agencies have labeled RT a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. On that trip to deliver a speech at a banquet marking RT’s 10th anniversary, Flynn sat at a table with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The leadership of another committee, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has obtained documents from that show Flynn was paid more than $33,000 for the speech. In addition, in 2016 Flynn represented a company with close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In that role, Flynn was reportedly paid more than $500,000, but failed to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department. Before Trump assumed office, Flynn told Obama national security adviser Rice not to proceed with a military plan in Syria that Turkey opposed.
The subpoenas mark new signs of life in the House committee’s investigation, which seemed to stall after Comey’s testimony. Nunes canceled a public session that had been set for March 28 to hear testimony from fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates about her January warning that Flynn was lying about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Instead, Nunes said he’d been shown documents that he said suggested the Obama administration had acted improperly in “unmasking” the names of Trump associates monitored communicating with foreign officials. No evidence has surfaced to support Nunes’ claim.
In May, the committee took testimony from former CIA director Brennan, who said that he had become concerned during the election campaign by the contacts between Trump associates and the Russians and shared the information with the FBI.