The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed two former Trump officials who were key witnesses in Robert Mueller’s probe, part of the panel’s ongoing counterintelligence investigation into election interference and the president’s alleged foreign ties.
The summons for Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and former national security adviser Michael Flynn require them to furnish documents to the panel by June 26 and appear for testimony on July 10.
The panel’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Thursday that it was “unacceptable” that neither Gates nor Flynn, both of whom pleaded guilty in Mueller’s probe to lying to the FBI, has appeared before the Intelligence Committee.
“The American people, and the Congress, deserve to hear directly from these two critical witnesses,” Schiff said in statement.
Lawyers for Gates and Flynn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
House Democrats have been struggling to secure public testimony from a number of Trump’s former aides and campaign officials who spoke at length to Mueller’s team, but have thus far resisted congressional summonses. The House voted this week to enforce the Judiciary Committee’s subpoena for former White House lawyer Donald McGahn, who told Mueller about Trump’s efforts to shut down the special counsel’s probe – and encouraged McGahn to lie about it.
The White House has instructed McGahn not to participate in the congressional probes, invoking its executive privilege.
Both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees have faced similar difficulty getting Mueller to testify in public. The special counsel has indicated his opposition to being a witness, and said that even if he did appear, he would likely only echo the findings in his report.
Lawmakers have had some success pulling in witnesses for closed-door interviews. On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee interviewed Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., in private; next Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to do the same with Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director and longtime aide to Trump.
Schiff acknowledged that neither Gates, who is working with the Justice Department on investigations beyond Mueller’s probe, nor Flynn, who is awaiting sentencing, is required to testify before lawmakers as part of their cooperation arrangements.
Still, Schiff stressed to each of them in letters accompanying the subpoena that he hoped they would see testifying before lawmakers as furthering their commitment to cooperate fully with related investigations.
“We hope these witnesses come to recognize their cooperation as being with the United States, not merely the Department of Justice,” Schiff said.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Karoun Demirjian