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.
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.
Nunes was a member of Trump’s transition team and active supporter of the president before, during and after the election.