House panel subpoenas Flynn, Gates

House panel subpoenas Flynn, Gates
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The House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas for documents and testimony from former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign aide Richard Gates.

"As part of our oversight work, the House Intelligence Committee is continuing to examine the deep counterintelligence concerns raised in Special Counsel Mueller's report, and that requires speaking directly with the fact witnesses," the committee's chairman, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Schiff offers bill to make domestic terrorism a federal crime New intel chief inherits host of challenges MORE (D-Calif.), said in a statement on Thursday.

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Schiff noted that both Flynn and Gates cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, but said that they have so far “refused to cooperate fully with Congress.”

In a Wednesday letter, Schiff demanded that Flynn, who worked on President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE's campaign and briefly in the administration, provide “documents and other materials” by June 26 and appear before the committee for sworn testimony on July 10.

The committee is also ordering Gates to turn over documents and other materials by June 26 and to provide sworn testimony on July 10, according to a separate letter issued to him.

Schiff wrote in the letter to Gates, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, that the panel has “no choice but to compel the production of the specified documents and your testimony” pursuant to a subpoena because he has thus far declined to cooperate voluntarily with the committees requests.

The nature of the documents the committee is seeking from both witnesses remains unclear.

It is also unclear whether their testimony would be public or behind closed doors, though Schiff said Thursday that the “American people, and the Congress, deserve to hear directly from these two critical witnesses.”

Lawyers for Flynn and Gates did not immediately return requests for comment.

The Intelligence panel has launched a sprawling probe into Trump’s links to Russia and other foreign powers, exploring his financial dealings and the possibility the president or members of his inner circle are subject to foreign compromise.

Most of the committee’s work has taken place behind closed doors, but the panel on Wednesday held its first open hearing on the counterintelligence implications of contacts between Trump’s campaign and Moscow as detailed in Mueller’s exhaustive report. The new subpoenas mark the first confirmation that the committee has reached out to Flynn and Gates for their cooperation in the sprawling probe.

While Mueller said his investigation found insufficient evidence to charge members of the Trump campaign with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the election, Democrats argued the report presents troubling contacts that could raise counterintelligence concerns and impact U.S. national security.

Trump and his Republican allies, meanwhile, have lambasted Schiff and other Democrats who have launched investigations into the president and his administration, accusing them of attempting to damage him politically ahead of a reelection year. 

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador in December 2017, agreeing to cooperate in the special counsel’s investigation.

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Mueller said last year that Flynn provided “substantial assistance” in the investigation and he was due to be sentenced last December. However, Flynn decided to delay his sentencing until his cooperation with the government is fully complete after the federal judge overseeing his case excoriating him in court and suggested he could receive jail time.

Schiff in Wednesday's letter to Flynn wrote that cooperating with Congress could help him out at sentencing.

“While this Committee recognizes that your cooperation agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice only requires you to testify for the Department, your cooperation with the Committee’s investigation nonetheless provides an opportunity to demonstrate to the Court that you have met the ‘high standard’ of cooperation that you represented to the Court that you set for yourself,” Schiff wrote.

Flynn is expected to testify against his former business partner Bijan Kian, who has been charged with illegally lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government, next month.

The latest developments also come as Flynn has ousted his legal team and brought on attorney and Mueller critic Sidney Powell, signaling a potentially more aggressive approach as he awaits sentencing.

Gates pleaded guilty to making false statements and a conspiracy charge and agreed to cooperate with Mueller in February 2018. He testified against Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrial of ex-Obama White House counsel suddenly postponed Top Mueller probe prosecutor to join Georgetown Law as lecturer DOJ releases notes from official Bruce Ohr's Russia probe interviews MORE, his ex-business partner and Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, at a trial in Virginia last summer. Gates is still cooperating with the government and has yet to be sentenced; a recent court filing suggested he may be a trial witnesses against former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig and longtime Trump friend Roger StoneRoger Jason Stone3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Judge rejects Stone's request to dismiss charges Judge dismisses DNC lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia over election interference MORE.

Updated at 9:51 a.m.