The House Intelligence Committee held a hearing Monday on Russia's meddling into the US election
There will be another hearing in the committee next week though the exact guest list is not yet finalized
Top members of the House Intelligence Committee said Tuesday they want former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to explain his communications with Russian officials, but details of how to get him before the panel have not yet been hammered out.
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee have both said they would like to see Flynn testify – but no decisions have been made on when to bring him in (or how.)
“We’re working on the next stage but that’s not yet. Right now we’ve given people the opportunity to come forward freely to testify publicly, you know this week, next week,” Nunes told CNN. “And then at that point we have to decide where we go from there.”
Democrats on the committee, meanwhile, are champing at the bit to bring Flynn and a host of other Trump aides before the panel. Rep. Jackie Speier, a senior Democrat on Intelligence committee, said she wants to hear from Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as soon as possible.
“If they need to be subpoenaed they will be subpoenaed – I feel that strongly about it,” Speier said. “And if this committee is worth its salt at all, it has to recognize you cannot complete an investigation without interviewing them and (former British intelligence Russia expert) Christopher Steele, and (former Trump advisers) Roger Stone and Carter Page and the web of operatives that had relationships with Russia.”
Schiff made Flynn’s communications with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak – and his firing by Trump – a centerpiece of his opening statement at Monday’s public hearing on Russia’s meddling with the US election last year, where FBI Director James Comey testified. And Rep. Terri Sewell, an Alabama Democrat on the committee, focused almost all of her questions for Comey on Flynn’s interactions – including Flynn’s lobbying for foreign governments.
Comey repeatedly told Sewell, “I can’t comment on that.”
Republicans, meanwhile, have said they would like to hear from Flynn, but for a very different reason: They want to know who leaked transcripts of his conversations with Kislyak and ultimately “unmasked” Flynn as a subject in the collection of surveillance.
At one point in Monday’s hearing, Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, asked Comey, “Did you brief President (Barack) Obama on any calls involving Michael Flynn?”
Comey said he could not answer that question.
Speier told CNN, “There’s already an agreement that Michael Flynn is going to come before the committee.”
But Schiff and Nunes both disputed that statement, saying nothing has been worked out yet.
“I would certainly like to have Flynn come in, but I haven’t talked to the chairman about dates or witness order or any of those issues yet,” Schiff told CNN.
A committee source explained that bringing Flynn would likely require a subpoena and, even then, may not be successful in getting any information from the former Trump aide.
“I would be very surprised if he comes in without being subpoenaed,” the source told CNN. “And I would expect him to take the Fifth (Amendment).”
The House Intelligence Committee will have a second public hearing as part of its investigation next Tuesday, the focus will be on a trio of former Obama national security officials: former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
But Schiff and Nunes told CNN they have yet to decide on more witnesses to testify before the committee. Another key question is whether potential future witnesses, like Flynn, would testify in open hearings like Monday’s marathon session – or testify in private or in a classified session.