The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), lamented to a sympathetic media Thursday that Rep. Devin Nunes issued subpoenas to three former Obama administration officials without consulting the minority and for no other reason than that the officials were part of the Obama administration. But according to Fox News’ James Rosen, Schiff’s staff was given a day’s notice about the subpoenas.
On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas related to its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Team Obama’s potentially illegal surveillance of Americans. Four of the subpoenas are related to the Russia collusion aspect of the investigation and three — Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and John Brennan — pertain to the Obama administration’s unmasking activities.
According to Fox News, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes went ahead with the latter three subpoenas after being stonewalled for months by the National Security Agency. Nunes has been seeking documents in the unmasking scandal since March 1.
“It’s very, very slow. It’s a slow process to get the IC to get us all of the documents,” Nunes said.
On Thursday, Schiff complained on both MSNBC and CNN that he was caught off guard by Nunes’ three subpoenas. Schiff also grumbled that Nunes’ involvement in the Russian investigation “clearly violated the terms of his recusal.”
“I don’t know what the chairman has in mind, again, because we weren’t consulted, or why the chairman was picking these three people apart from the fact that they were part of the Obama administration,” Schiff told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. “If there’s a problem getting information from the agencies, I’m not aware of it. That problem hasn’t been shared with us,” Schiff said. “The necessity of subpoenas hasn’t been shared with us.”
Schiff told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that the subpoenas went out without consultation with the minority. “I only learned about this late the night before, and that is a problem,” he said.
“These were sent out unilaterally by the chairman,” Schiff added, “and they are part of the White House’s desire to shift the attention away from the Russia probe and onto the attention of unmasking.”
But on Fox News’ Special Report Thursday evening, James Rosen reported that “Schiff’s staff later acknowledged to Fox News that they had been informed of the unmasking subpoenas on Tuesday — some 24 hours before their issuance.”
Rosen said the disagreement “underscored the partisan rancor that has hampered the panel’s probe of two intertwined controversies.”
More than anything else, it seemed to underscore one side’s willingness to stretch the truth in order to score political points.