House Intel chair Devin Nunes retains subpoena power in Russian Federation inquiry

U.S. President Donald Trump interacts with reporters as he welcomes Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington

"We will continue to pursue this investigation wherever the facts may lead."The approval of the seven subpoenas appeared to represent a political compromise between the House of Representatives panel's majority Republicans, who have joined Trump in demanding investigations into leaks of classified information to news organizations, and minority Democrats, who are pushing for an aggressive investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump campaign aides".

But some Republicans say he never fully recused himself but just stepped aside briefly from the Russian Federation probe and that these unmasking subpoenas are separate from the Russian Federation investigation. It's not clear whether the requests came from committee Democrats or Republicans, The Post said, but Nunes would have had to sign off on any such requests. And whatever intelligence service intercepted the communication agreed because they did reveal the identity of the American citizen involved (the White House has to make a request for such unmasking and justify it on national security grounds). He said the unmasking subpoenas are not part of the Russian Federation probe.

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is facing complaints of launching his own investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election after recusing himself from leading the committee's Russian Federation probe in April.

But Nunes' actions over the last month have Democrats complaining he is violating the spirit of his promise to step aside from leading the investigation. He said at the time that he had concerns about the way some people were dealt with in the intelligence reports.

Because a couple of weeks ago, CNN reported Nunes went to CIA headquarters to review intelligence documents related to Russian Federation.

Nunes has since accused Obama officials of improperly "unmasking" Trump associates who were caught up in conversations involving individuals under surveillance.

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted unanimously on May 25 to authorise its chairman, Republican Senator Richard Burr, and its top-ranking Democratic, Mark Warner, to issue subpoenas that would force the attorney to respond to their demands.

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Nunes followed suit hours later, tweeting: "Seeing a lot of fake news from media elites and others who have no interest in violations of Americans' civil liberties via unmaskings".

Another congressional source, who also requested anonymity, said Democrats were "informed and consulted" ahead of time, but committee aides said they were not told.

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.

Schiff on Thursday blasted Nunes for continuing to hold power over the investigation's subpoenas, despite pledging almost two months ago to step aside.

Former White House staffer Boris Epshteyn confirmed he has been contacted for information as part of the House investigation.

Nunes continues to hold a powerful seat on the "Gang of Eight", a group that is given access to top-level classified information and is reserved for the the four leaders of the House and Senate - House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer - and the top four members on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

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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