House Subpoenas Flynn, Cohen, and Unmasking Requests by Obama Trio

Andrew Cummings
June 4, 2017

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 committee served three intelligence agencies with subpoenas, requesting evidence of unmasking requests of Americans by three Obama-era officials: former White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, and, most surprising, former United Nations ambassador Samantha Power.

"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 US intelligence agencies.

Rice and Brennan declined to comment, the Post reports, while Power did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democrats shot back, accusing Trump, a Republican, of diverting attention from the ongoing scandal that has now hangs over his young presidency and criticising committee Chairman Devin Nunes' subpoenas.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, Republican Representative Mike Conaway and Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who are leading the committee's Russian Federation probe, announced subpoenas for Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as well as their firms.

The news comes at an awkward time for Trump and Nunes, who have accused the Obama administration of using the same practice, called "unmasking", to spy on Republican political campaigns. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Adam Schiff, D-California, said in a statement. He added that he has raised concerns about Nunes' involvement to House Speaker Paul Ryan.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has not fully recused himself from the committee's Russian Federation probe.

One of the least-discussed aspects of the current scandal enveloping the Trump administration over Russian contact is that Russia nearly inarguably at this point engaged in an act of information warfare.

Despite recusing himself from the Russian Federation investigation, Nunes signed all seven subpoenas, Fox News reported, describing his actions as "standard practice".

This is not a separate matter from the Russian Federation story, and Mr. Nunes's recusal means he should keep his hands off it.

He hasn't expanded much on his comment to Fox News that the unmasking investigation isn't off limits for him.

Delving into a political quarrel over the most recent subpoenas in the US House Intelligence Committee's Russian Federation test, US President Donald Trump on Thursday backed endeavors to examine activities by US security and different authorities under past president Barack Obama.

On Thursday ThinkProgress reported "Devin Nunes and Trump are still working together in attempt to manufacture [an] "unmasking" scandal".

As the Russian Federation investigation has consumed Washington, congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump have repeatedly attempted to shift the focus to questions about "unmasking", charging that Obama administration officials intentionally revealed the names for political reasons. Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, is under scrutiny in the FBI's investigation, fired FBI Director James Comey will testify before Congress next week about a conversation he had in which the president asked him to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Other reports by iNewsToday