Fri, Jun 02, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Subpoenas issued in US election probe

COMEY TO TESTIFY?Former FBI director James Comey was approved to testify in the investigation of possible links between the Trump election campaign and Russia

AP, WASHINGTON

The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said it is issuing subpoenas for Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen — US President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and his personal lawyer — as well as their businesses as part of its investigation into Russian activities during last year’s US presidential election.

In addition to those four subpoenas, the committee issued three others — to the US National Security Agency, the FBI and the CIA — for information about requests that US government officials made to unmask the identities of US individuals named in classified intelligence reports.

The subpoenas were announced on Wednesday as the special counsel overseeing the government’s investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia has approved former FBI director James Comey to testify before the committee, a Comey associate said.

At a briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said inquiries about the Russia investigation must be directed to Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz.

It marked the first time the White House had officially acknowledged that outside counsel had been retained.

Calls and e-mails to Kasowitz’s New York firm were not returned on Wednesday.

The Comey associate, who was not authorized to discuss details of the testimony and spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to discuss the content of Comey’s planned testimony.

The associate did say that Robert Mueller, appointed by the US Department of Justice earlier this month to lead the government’s inquiry, is allowing Comey to make certain statements.

Lawmakers are likely to ask Comey about his interactions with Trump as the bureau pursued its investigation into his campaign’s contacts.

Associates have said Comey wrote memos describing certain interactions with Trump that gave him pause in the months after the election, including details of a dinner at which he claimed the president asked him to pledge his loyalty, and a request to shut down the investigation of Flynn.

A spokesman for Mueller, a former FBI director, declined to comment.

Congress is out of session. It resumes on Tuesday next week. No date for Comey’s testimony has been set.

A spokeswoman for the committee’s chairman, Senator Richard Burr, said the committee welcomes Comey’s testimony, but declined to comment further.

The House panel pursuing its own investigation of the Trump campaign and possible Russia ties has also sought information from Comey, asking the FBI to turn over documents related to his interactions with both the White House and the Department of Justice.

Subpoenas were approved on Wednesday for Flynn and his company, Flynn Intel Group, and Cohen and his firm, Michael D. Cohen & Associates.

Cohen, who earlier refused a request for information, saying it was “not capable of being answered,” told reporters on Tuesday that he would comply with subpoenas, should they be issued.

He said he has “nothing to hide.”

Trump has repeatedly dismissed allegations that his campaign collaborated with Russia ahead of the presidential election.

Early on Wednesday, the president tweeted “Witch Hunt!” in reference to testimony by Comey and former CIA director John Brennan before Congress on the topic.

Also on Wednesday, a Department of Justice official confirmed that Mueller had named a top department official to his team.

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