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Schiff issues surprise subpoenas to Michael Flynn, Rick Gates in Russia probe

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Schiff issues surprise subpoenas to Michael Flynn, Rick Gates in Russia probe

The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates for documents and testimony as the panel escalates its own post-Mueller probe into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election.

Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., announced the subpoenas on Thursday, stating the importance of “speaking directly with fact witnesses.”

FLYNN HIRES VOCAL MUELLER TEAM CRITIC, AFTER MYSTERIOUSLY FIRING ATTORNEYS

“Both Michael Flynn and Rick Gates were critical witnesses for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, but so far have refused to cooperate fully with Congress,” Schiff said in a statement. “That’s simply unacceptable. The American people, and the Congress deserve to hear directly from these two critical witnesses.”

When reached by Fox News, Gates said he “didn’t know” about the subpoena and would get in touch with his lawyers.

Flynn’s new attorney, former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, had no comment.

Schiff, in his letter to Gates accompanying the subpoena, wrote: “While the Committee understands that your cooperation agreement with the Department of Justice only requires you to testify for the Department, the Committee is disappointed that you do not view your cooperation more broadly as an obligation to assist the United States of America, and not merely the Department of Justice.”

In a similar sentiment, Schiff wrote to Flynn that his cooperation before the committee could “further underscore to your sentencing judge that ‘you’ve done everything you possibly can for the United States of America,’ not just the Department of Justice.”

Both Flynn and Gates were charged as part of Mueller’s probe, but have both had their sentencing hearings delayed for months.

Flynn pleaded guilty to providing false statements to the FBI during a January 2017 interview about his communications with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016. His plea was part of a deal to cooperate with then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and federal prosecutors.

Gates was a close associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and also did work for the Trump campaign in 2016. He pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy against the U.S. and one count of making false statements to FBI agents. Gates also entered a plea deal with prosecutors to cooperate in the case against Manafort, which led Mueller to dismiss nearly two-dozen tax and bank fraud charges against Gates. Gates had intimate knowledge of Manafort’s years of political consulting work in Ukraine.

Schiff’s move to subpoena Flynn and Gates come as his panel, along with other top House committees, ramp up their Trump-focused investigations. Schiff’s panel is hosting a series of hearings focused on the “counterintelligence implications” of Mueller’s report, with plans to host “fact witnesses, national security experts” and others connected to the Mueller investigation. Other Democrat-led panels are pursuing a similar approach, with some moving to hold Trump figures in contempt for not complying with subpoenas.

Republicans, in turn, have accused Democrats of investigation overkill, with GOP Rep. Devin Nunes accusing Schiff at a hearing on Wednesday of putting on a “grotesque spectacle.”

The hearings come after Mueller made a rare public appearance last week to mark the conclusion of his investigation and the closing of his office. He maintained that there was “not sufficient evidence to charge a conspiracy” with regard to whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

But Mueller left open the question of whether the president obstructed justice.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said. “We did not determine whether the president did commit a crime.”

DOJ DOESN’T NEED TO PROVIDE TRANSCRIPT OF KEY FLYNN PHONE CALL AFTER ALL, JUDGE RULES

Mueller explained longstanding Justice Department policy, which states a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, and thus said “charging the president was not an option we could consider.”

Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is probing whether the president obstructed justice.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas, Ronn Blitzer and Gregg Re contributed to this report. 

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Pelosi flexes muscle over party in impeachment debate, but ‘dam’ could collapse

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Pelosi flexes muscle over party in impeachment debate, but ‘dam’ could collapse

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has wielded her power to quash a faction of Democrats rallying for President Trump’s impeachment, but frustrated members within the party say the president is one misstep away from “that dam collapsing,” according to a Sunday report.

Since reassuming leadership over the house, Pelosi has thwarted her party’s liberal wing from going forward with impeachment proceedings, encouraging them to instead focus on other issues like health care.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reflects on President Donald Trump's statement that he would accept assistance from a foreign power. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reflects on President Donald Trump’s statement that he would accept assistance from a foreign power. 
(AP)

“I don’t think there’s anything more divisive we can do than to impeach a president of the United States, and so you have to handle it with great care,” Pelosi told CNN on Sunday. “It has to be about the truth and the facts to take you to whatever decision has to be there.”

Some lawmakers say their deference to Pelosi is out of respect for the speaker’s political expertise, and agree that impeachment would do more harm than good.

NANCY PELOSI TOLD DEMS SHE WANTS TO SEE TRUMP ‘IN PRISON’: REPORT

“She is the single smartest strategist that we’ve ever had…People are not wanting to second guess her because she’s been right on so many fronts,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., told the Washington Post.

But other Democratic lawmakers, like Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., admit they toe the party line out of fear.

“One, you want to be a team player and support the leader’s position, but secondly you’re worried about your own self and…what can happen if you don’t follow along,” Schrader told the paper.

Some argue that President Trump’s defiance of congressional investigators will eventually break the divide between moderate Democrats and its liberal wing.

TRUMP APPEARS TO HAVE INADVERTENTLY INFUSED DEMOCRATIC INVESTIGATIONS AFTER ABC INTERVIEW

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., described Pelosi’s hold over Democrats as “fragile” because “we’re kind of one event, one piece of explosive testimony, one action by Trump away from that dam collapsing.”

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The Democrats’ pro-impeachment camp howled this week after Trump said in an interview with ABC that he’d be willing to listen if a foreign government had dirt on an opponent. Yet despite the familiar refrain of impeachment, Pelosi didn’t budge an inch on impeachment after Trump’s comments.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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Trump asks Mulvaney to leave Oval Office for coughing during ABC interview

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Trump asks Mulvaney to leave Oval Office for coughing during ABC interview

President Trump was apparently so perturbed by his chief of staff coughing during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office last week, that he asked his staffer to leave the room, according to a transcript from the station.

Trump had been asked a question about his tax returns when someone off camera – identified as Mulvaney – reportedly begins coughing.

“I hope they get it, because it’s a fantastic financial statement,” Trump said Stephanopoulos amid apparent coughing before saying: “And let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer.”

TRUMP SAYS HE WOULD ‘WANT TO HEAR’ DIRT ON 2020 RIVALS FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS, SUGGESTS HE WOULDN’T CONTACT FBI

“I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that,” Trump reportedly said of Mulvaney’s coughing. “If you’re going to couch, please leave the room. You just can’t, you just can’t cough. Boy oh boy.”

“Your chief of staff,” Stephanopoulos reportedly clarified.

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The interview, which was broadcast Sunday, proceeded with Trump saying although he wanted people to see his “phenomenal” financial statement, it’s “not up to me, it’s up to my lawyers.”

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Buttigieg says he won’t be first gay president, ‘almost certain’ we’ve had others

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Buttigieg says he won't be first gay president, 'almost certain' we've had others

Mayor Pete Buttigieg doesn’t believe he’ll be the first gay president if elected in 2020.

“I would imagine we’ve probably had excellent presidents who were gay — we just didn’t know which ones,” he told “Axios on HBO.”

“I mean, statistically, it’s almost certain.”

FILE: Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a grassroots event on Friday, June 14, 2019, in Alexandria, Va.

FILE: Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a grassroots event on Friday, June 14, 2019, in Alexandria, Va.
(AP)

Asked if he possibly knew which commander-in-chief was playing for the other team, the Democratic hopeful said: “My gaydar even doesn’t work that well in the present, let alone retroactively. But one can only assume that’s the case.”

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Buttigieg — who is mayor of South Bend, Ind. — has been rising in the polls as of late. He would be the first openly gay presidential candidate, if nominated next next year.

The 37-year-old has been asked in the past about the possibility of there ever being a gay president, with BuzzFeed posing the question back in March.

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“My gaydar is not great to begin with and definitely doesn’t work over long stretches of time,” he repeated. “I think we’ll just have to let the historians figure that out.”

To read more from The New York Post, click here

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