Among a flurry of subpoenas issued Wednesday for Donald Trump confidantes Mike Flynn and Michael Cohen, three related to questions about “unmasking”—or why the names of Trump associates were referenced in intelligence reports under Barack Obama’s administration, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Republicans have been pushing for information on unmasking requests made by former national security adviser Susan Rice, which have been used as a de-facto defense for Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election.
But several subpoenas issued Wednesday did not come from the House Intelligence Committee writ large, but from chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). In April, Nunes said he would step aside from the probe after it was revealed he obtained information about unmasking during a secret White House meeting. Nunes would later use that information—provided to him by former Trump transition official and Flynn loyalist—to give credence to the president’s dubious wiretap claim.
Intel Cmte aide says subpoenas on "unmasking" would have come from Nunes "acting separately" from Russia probe w/o consent of minority# p #4_20 # ad skipped = true #
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 31, 2017# p #5_20 # ad skipped = true #
On May 18, CNN reported Nunes changed course and was still reviewing documents from the investigation. He retains broad subpoena power and only has to “consult” minority Democrats on the committee in order to issue subpoenas.
Rep. Nunes “stepped aside” from panel’s Russia probe in early Apr, but on May 19 he said he’ll remain an active chair. This is proof of that https://t.co/V8D2aCQ91a# p #8_20 # ad skipped = true #
— Kevin Rincon (@KevRincon) May 31, 2017# p #9_20 # ad skipped = true #
Intel Cmte aide says subpoenas on “unmasking” would have come from Nunes “acting separately” from Russia probe w/o consent of minority# p #11_20 # ad skipped = true #
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 31, 2017# p #12_20 # ad skipped = true #
House Intel subpoenas related to unmasking came from Chairman Nunes unilaterally, w/o Dem knowledge, per source.# p #14_20 # ad skipped = true #
— Ben Siegel (@benyc) May 31, 2017# p #15_20 # ad skipped = true #
Committee rules give Nunes broad power … only has to “consult” minority … altho unmasking as an issue has some support among Rs on panel# p #17_20 # ad skipped = true #
— Tom LoBianco (@tomlobianco) May 31, 2017# p #18_20 # ad skipped = true #
Nunes was a member of Trump’s transition team and active supporter of the president before, during and after the election.