Published: Sun, June 04, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Pelosi objects to subpoenas issued by GOP intel chairman

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.

Trump made a similar claim in a tweet early Tuesday: "Russian officials must be laughing at the USA & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News".

Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to shift the media narrative away from the Russian Federation investigation by focusing on the unmaskings and illegal leaks of intelligence to the media.

The House Intelligence Committee's investigation is just one of several congressional probes into Russian Federation, along with one by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Comey's testimony probably will focus on the private meetings the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director had with Trump and subsequently chronicled in internal memos and recounted to associates who have divulged their contents to The Associated Press and other media outlets.

On a day when the committee issued subpoenas seeking documents related to the Trump-Russia investigation, Nunes has created his own investigation, single-handedly, using his position as committee chair to subvert and derail the actual investigation as he attempts to provide talking points for Trump.

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The White House has denied those characterizations. No date for Comey's testimony has been set. Mueller's separate probe could conceivably look at the circumstances surrounding Comey's firing.

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.

Meanwhile, the panel's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Schiff are embroiled in a public brawl over the probe, Politico reported.

"If the reports are accurate, subpoenas related to the "unmasking" issue would have been sent by Chairman Nunes acting separately from the committee's Russian Federation investigation", the senior aide wrote in an email. It was only after those briefings that he discussed the source's information with Democrats on the committee.

Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) named three former Obama administration officials suspected of illegal unmasking: Susan Rice, John Brennan and Samantha Power.

The subpoenas sent to government agencies were related to Trump's complaints that Obama administration officials had asked, for political reasons, to be told the names of Trump associates documented in intelligence reports.

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Spokespeople for both Nunes and Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee's ranking members, declined to comment when asked by Business Insider if the committee had requested the unmaskings cited by the Washington Post.

"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.

"Simply put, I'm still the chairman of the committee", Nunes said.

The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas related to the investigation on Wednesday. "That hasn't happened yet", Schiff said, adding that he thinks it's a "violation of the recusal" by Nunes.

Subpoenas were approved Wednesday for Flynn and his company, Flynn Intel Group, and Cohen, and his firm, Michael D. Cohen & Associates. But Democrats have argued that Nunes should transfer subpoena power in the Russian Federation probe to Rep. Conaway.

Democrats on the committee largely oppose these subpoenas because they believe the intelligence agencies have been cooperative.

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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.

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