Nunes signs off on new subpoenas to firm behind Trump-Russia dossier
The subpoenas — signed by California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes — were issued Oct. 4, demanding documents and testimony later this month and early November.
Earlier this year, Nunes announced that he was stepping aside from directing the committee’s Russia inquiry after he became the subject of an ethics investigation into his handling of classified information. But more recently, he has made clear that he is still playing an influential role, despite announcing that he had delegated authority on the Russia matter to Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas.
A source familiar with the matter told CNN that all Russia-related subpoenas have been approved by Conaway, and Conaway confirmed to CNN Monday he asked for the most recent subpoenas.
But the subpoenas appear to be the latest fight in an investigation that has periodically been hobbled by controversy and infighting.
Indeed, the move blindsided some committee members, multiple sources told CNN. And it has angered some on the committee who say that Nunes is still seeking to direct an investigation he was supposed to have no involvement in leading.
“He’s not in any way, shape or form working on the investigation,” said one Democratic committee member. “He’s sitting outside the investigation and pushing it in a political direction.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Nunes appeared to be “trying to undermine the investigation.”
“This would violate that recusal if this is indeed what he has done,” Swalwell said.
Conaway said the committee’s procedures were to consult with the committee’s Democratic leader, and that “the mechanics on that fit in with the chairman’s responsibilities.”
“I’m trying to maintain good relations, but at the end of the day we need to get those records that are subject to those subpoenas,” Conaway said.
Asked by CNN Monday why he issued the subpoenas, Nunes declined to comment. “You can ask, but you’re not going to get a response,” Nunes said.
Previously, in a June interview with CNN, Nunes said: “When I temporarily stepped aside from leading the investigation, that’s exactly what it means: It doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to be involved, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to be fully read in.”
Joshua Levy, an attorney for Fusion GPS, said the firm’s founder, Glenn Simpson, already provided a 10-hour interview to the Senate judiciary committee and Nunes could first seek to review that testimony.
“This is a blatant attempt to undermine the reporting of the so-called ‘dossier,’ even as its core conclusion of a broad campaign by the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election has been confirmed by the US intelligence community and is now widely accepted as fact,” Levy said.