WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey may testify in an open Senate hearing as soon as next week, while on the House side of the Russia investigation subpoenas were approved for several individuals including former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.
The House Intelligence Committee included in the subpoenas Flynn’s consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group LLC, as well as Michael Cohen, a longtime lawyer for President Trump, and Michael D. Cohen & Associates PC.
Though not included in the committee’s announcement, subpoenas were also approved seeking information on any requests by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former UN Ambassador Samantha Power to unmask names of Trump associates in intelligence reports. A Democratic aide on the committee told NBC News that Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who has recused himself from the Russia investigation, would have issued those separately from the Russia probe and without advising committee Dems. A GOP source told the network that Dems were “informed and consulted” on the move.
“As part of our ongoing investigation into Russian active measures during the 2016 campaign, today we approved subpoenas for several individuals for testimony, personal documents and business records,” said Reps. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) in announcing the Flynn and Cohen subpoenas.
“We hope and expect that anyone called to testify or provide documents will comply with that request, so that we may gain all the information within the scope of our investigation,” they added. “We will continue to pursue this investigation wherever the facts may lead.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee announced mid-May that Comey had agreed to testify before their panel — while turning down a similar request from the Senate Judiciary Committee — but the date was up in the air while the former FBI director talked with special counsel Robert Mueller about the parameters of what could be discussed in open session.
Sources close to Comey told media outlets, with CNN first reporting, that the former FBI director is preparing to talk about his closed-door conversations with Trump — and the memos he reportedly kept of those interactions.
Trump allegedly asked Comey to “let go” of the investigation into Flynn and his Russia ties, a meeting that Comey chronicled in a two-page memo, the New York Times reported two weeks ago. The story said the Oval Office meeting took place the day after Flynn resigned in February. The existence of the memo, written by Comey “immediately” after the meeting, was shared “with senior FBI officials and close associates,” according to the report.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump allegedly told Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
The memo alleged that Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been in the meeting, which was called to discuss national security threats, but were among those asked to leave by Trump before he made his request of Comey, the NYT added.
Comey will also likely field questions about reports that, just after taking office, Trump asked the FBI director for his loyalty.
Though cleared to testify, Comey’s hearing still hasn’t been scheduled and the Senate Intelligence Committee hasn’t issued any announcements. As in past hearings when he was still head of the FBI, Comey isn’t expected to reveal details of the ongoing investigation into potential ties between the Trump camp and Russia.
There hasn’t been any indication from the White House yet on whether the administration will try to block Comey’s testimony, citing executive privilege to keep Oval Office conversations private.
The FBI has denied requests from Congress to see Comey’s memos, citing Mueller’s investigation.