The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday issued subpoenas to two former Trump officials who pleaded guilty and cooperated in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The intelligence panel said it had subpoenaed former Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The pair pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s probe before cooperating with the investigation, and their testimony is cited in Mueller’s report.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s decision to subpoena the Mueller witnesses signifies a new facet in the House Democrats’ investigations into President Donald Trump, as it’s the first subpoenas issued to targets of the Mueller probe.
The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees are operating on dual tracks in their examinations of the Mueller investigation: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has issued subpoenas to former White House officials who figured prominently in the special counsel’s obstruction investigation, while Schiff has now subpoenaed officials cited in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference.
“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,” Schiff, a Democrat from California, said in a statement. “Both Michael Flynn and Rick Gates were critical witnesses for Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, but so far have refused to cooperate fully with Congress.”
The subpoenas to Flynn and Gates request they provide documents later this month and appear before the panel on July 10.
The House Intelligence Committee has interviewed former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen as part of its sweeping probe that Schiff kicked off earlier this year, which is examining Russian election interference as well as Trump’s finances and possible foreign influence.
Schiff had put off other interviews, including with Trump business associate Felix Sater, while the committee focused on obtaining the Mueller report. But Thursday’s subpoenas are a sign that the committee is returning to its interviews as Democrats seek to highlight and publicize what was uncovered in the Mueller investigation.
In the Judiciary Committee’s investigation, the White House has directed those subpoenaed not to provide documents regarding their time in the Trump administration. The White House directed former White House counsel Don McGahn not to testify under subpoena, while former White House communications director Hope Hicks is appearing later this month behind closed doors but may not answer some questions because of claims of executive privilege.
It’s unclear how Flynn and Gates will respond to Schiff’s subpoenas. Both are still under cooperating agreements with the Justice Department and have yet to be sentenced after their guilty pleas. Flynn retained a new lawyer this week who has promoted conspiracy theories about Mueller’s team.
The letter to Flynn includes a note about his cooperation with the Justice Department, which prompted the special counsel to recommend little to no jail time, arguing that the cooperation should include Congress.
“While the committee understands that your cooperation agreement with the Department of Justice only requires you to testify for the department, the committee is disappointed that you do not view your cooperation more broadly as an obligation to assist the United States of America, not merely the Department of Justice,” Schiff wrote.
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.