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In Light of New York Times Revelations, Cummings Presses Chaffetz to Finally Use His “Subpoena Pen” for White House Docs on Flynn

May 18, 2017
Press Release

In Light of New York Times Revelations, Cummings Presses Chaffetz to Finally Use His “Subpoena Pen” for White House Docs on Flynn

 

Chairman Issued 11 Subpoenas in 8 Days Investigating Clinton Right Before Election

 

Washington, D.C. (May 18, 2017)—In light of new revelations last night in the New York Times that the Trump transition team was informed about ongoing investigations of Lt. General Michael Flynn before naming him National Security Advisor, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, renewed his call for Chairman Jason Chaffetz to subpoena the White House to produce the documents it has been withholding from Congress relating to Flynn—documents that Chaffetz himself requested with Cummings in a bipartisan letter on March 22, 2017.

 

“The White House has been obstructing our congressional investigation, covering up for Michael Flynn, and refusing to provide a single document in response to our bipartisan request.  Now we can see why,” said Cummings.  “In light of these explosive new revelations, there is no longer any excuse to allow the White House to continue stonewalling.  These are exactly the type of documents we asked for months ago, but the White House has been withholding everything.  The Chairman either needs to subpoena the White House or let the Committee take a vote.”

 

Last night, under the headline, “Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before He Came to White House,” the Times reported:

 

Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case.

 

Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser.  The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.

 

In contrast, White House spokesman Sean Spicer previously claimed President Trump knew nothing about Flynn’s lobbying when he named him National Security Advisor, and Vice President Pence told Fox News he did not learn about Flynn’s work for Turkey until March of this year.

 

Cummings raised similar concerns about Flynn’s lobbying activities with Turkey in a letter to Pence on November 18, 2016, when he was head of the Trump transition team.

 

On March 22, 2017, Chaffetz and Cummings sent a bipartisan letter to Chief of Staff Reince Priebus requesting that the White House produce a wide range of documents relating to Flynn’s contacts with foreign nationals, including documents relating to his vetting as National Security Advisor and his firing.

 

On April 19, 2017, the White House responded by refusing to provide a single document.  The White House admitted that it has responsive documents, but refused to provide them because they “are likely to contain classified, sensitive, and/or confidential information.”

 

On April 27, 2017, all Democratic Members of the Oversight Committee sent a letter pressing Chaffetz to obtain the documents, noting:  “Our Committee deals with classified, sensitive, and confidential information on a regular and routine basis, and this excuse is not a valid ground to withhold all documents from the Committee.”  The letter proposed a meeting with the White House, but Chaffetz refused.

 

On May 16, 2017, all Democratic Members of the Oversight Committee and the Judiciary Committee sent a letter calling the Republican response “anemic” and insisting that “the Oversight Committee schedule an immediate vote on a motion to subpoena the White House to produce the documents it has been withholding in response to the bipartisan request from Ranking Member Cummings and Chairman Chaffetz on March 22, 2017.”

 

On Tuesday, Chaffetz tweeted that he has his “subpoena pen ready,” referring to a letter he wrote to the FBI requesting memos from Director James Comey about a meeting in which President Trump attempted to pressure him to shut down the criminal investigation into Flynn.  Although Cummings asked Chaffetz to send an identical document request to the White House, Chaffetz refused.

 

“Chairman Chaffetz’s refusal to issue a subpoena to the White House—or to even allow a vote on one—stands in stark contrast with his flurry of activity during an eight-day period last September when he issued eleven unilateral subpoenas relating to the investigation of Secretary Clinton.  That’s more than one subpoena each day on average,” Cummings said.  “The Chairman’s ‘subpoena pen’ nearly ran out of ink right before the election when he was investigating Secretary Clinton, but he capped it as soon as President Trump walked into the White House.”

 

  • On September 7, Chaffetz subpoenaed Clarence Finney, the Deputy Director of the Executive Secretariat Staff at the State Department, to testify before the Committee the next morning at 10 am.
  • On September 7, Chaffetz subpoenaed Karin Lang, the Director of the Executive Secretariat Staff at the State Department, to testify before the Committee the next day at 10 a.m.
  • On September 8, Chaffetz subpoenaed Bryan Pagliano, an IT aide who helped set up Secretary Clinton’s email server, to testify before the Committee five days later.
  • On September 8, Chaffetz subpoenaed Bill Thornton, an employee at Platte River Networks, a company that provided technology services to Secretary Clinton’s server and email account, to testify before the Committee five days later.
  • On September 8, Chaffetz subpoenaed Paul Combetta, an employee at Platte River Networks, to testify before the Committee five days later.
  • On September 9, Chaffetz subpoenaed Paul Combetta to produce documents to the Committee within four days.
  • On September 9, Chaffetz subpoenaed Bryan Pagliano to produce documents to the Committee within four days.
  • On September 12, Chaffetz subpoenaed Director Comey to produce documents within four days.
  • On September 12, Chaffetz subpoenaed Austin McChord, the Chief Executive Officer of Datto, Inc., which provided backup data services to Secretary Clinton’s server, to produce documents within one week.
  • On September 15, Chaffetz subpoenaed Treve Suazo, the Chief Executive Officer of Platte River Networks, to produce documents within one week.
  • On September 16, Chaffetz subpoenaed Bryan Pagliano to testify before the Committee six days later.

 

 

115th Congress