Congress seeks “un­mask­ing” data.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY GUY TAY­LOR AND DAN BOY­LAN

The House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee has is­sued seven new sub­poe­nas this week in its probe of al­leged Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion — in­clud­ing three that could pro­vide fresh fuel to charges that top Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials im­prop­erly sought the iden­ti­ties of Trump cam­paign fig­ures swept up in the in­tel­li­gence probe.

The flurry of ac­tiv­ity Wed­nes­day dra­mat­i­cally widened the scope of the com­mit­tee’s probe to in­clude in­quiries into both the pos­si­bil­ity of col­lu­sion be­tween the Trump cam­paign and the Krem­lin — as well as al­le­ga­tions that Obama-era of­fi­cials in­ap­pro­pri­ately sought to “un­mask” the iden­ti­ties of Trump tran­si­tion per­son­nel redacted in U.S. sur­veil­lance op­er­a­tions against for­eign tar­gets.

Three of the sub­poe­nas were is­sued to the CIA, FBI and NSA, and seek de­tails re­lated to al­leged un­mask­ing re­quests made by former Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Su­san Rice, former CIA Direc­tor John O. Bren­nan and former U.S. Am­bas­sador to the U.N. Su­san Power, ac­cord­ing to a Wall Street Jour­nal re­port.

The devel­op­ment marked the first time that Ms. Power has been re­ported as a pos­si­ble wit­ness in the on­go­ing con­gres­sional Rus­sia probes.

The four other sub­poe­nas is­sued Wed­nes­day fo­cused on the ac­tiv­i­ties of former Trump cam­paign aide Michael Flynn, who briefly served as White House na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, and long­time Trump per­sonal at­tor­ney Michael Co­hen. In ad­di­tion to be­ing per­son­ally named, com­pa­nies run by each of the men were also tar­geted by sub­poe­nas, a se­nior con­gres­sional aide said.

There was some con­fu­sion Thurs­day over the ex­tent to which all par­ties on the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, a panel that has been riven by po­lit­i­cal dis­agree­ments since the Rus­sia probe’s start, were fully in agree­ment on is­su­ing the sub­poe­nas.

Con­flict­ing re­ports sug­gested the three sub­poe­nas into un­mask­ing had been is­sued by Rep. Devin Nunes, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, who for­merly ran the com­mit­tee’s Rus­sia probe be­fore re­cus­ing him­self in early April fol­low­ing an ethics com­plaint over his han­dling of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion. Rep. K. Michael Con­away, Texas Repub­li­can, re­placed Mr. Nunes. Mr. Nunes’ of­fice was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment.

A spokesman for the com­mit­tee’s lead Demo­crat, Rep. Adam B. Schiff of Cal­i­for­nia, de­clined to com­ment on whether Mr. Schiff or oth­ers on the com­mit­tee had signed off on the un­mask­ing sub­poe­nas.

Since the start of the mul­ti­ple Rus­sia probes, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has ar­gued that the Obama White House may have il­le­gally leaked in­tel­li­gence in­for­ma­tion to the me­dia, in­clud­ing names of Trump aides that are orig­i­nally masked in the raw in­tel­li­gence files.

Ms. Rice in March ad­mit­ted to seek­ing to un­mask some of the redacted names, ar­gu­ing that she con­sid­ered that it was well within her job du­ties and in no way driven by po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tions to know which fig­ures from the Trump cam­paign were be­ing dis­cussed.

Democrats have gen­er­ally dis­missed the un­mask­ing is­sue as an at­tempt to dis­tract the public and the con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions from al­leged col­lu­sion be­tween Mr. Trump and the Krem­lin.

The Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, cur­rently con­duct­ing its own probe, and the FBI have is­sued sim­i­lar sub­poe­nas to both Mr. Flynn and Mr. Co­hen.

Mr. Flynn, who was dis­missed af­ter three weeks on the job af­ter he lied to Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence about the ex­tent of his for­eign con­tacts, has un­suc­cess­fully sought im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion in ex­change for con­gres­sional tes­ti­mony.

How­ever, re­ports emerged on Wed­nes­day that he is ex­pected to com­ply with parts of the Se­nate sub­poena and will turn over doc­u­ments re­lated to two of his busi­nesses as well as some per­sonal doc­u­ments the com­mit­tee re­quested ear­lier this month.

The flurry of sub­poena ac­tiv­ity came as it was re­vealed that former FBI Direc­tor James B. Comey is on track to tes­tify be­fore Congress on June 8 to ad­dress ac­cu­sa­tions that Mr. Trump, who fired him in early May, pri­vately ap­plied pres­sure to end the bu­reau’s Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Af­ter Mr. Comey’s dis­missal, Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod J. Rosen­stein, who wrote the memo ini­tially cited as the ba­sis for fir­ing Mr. Comey, named former FBI Direc­tor Robert Mueller as spe­cial coun­sel to con­tinue the probe.

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