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House Intelligence Committee Threatens White House With Subpoena

Jun 29, 2017

On yet another day when President Trump's tweets are dominating the news, the top Republican and Democrat leading the House Intelligence Committee's Russia probe said his tweets aren't quite enough for them.

In a statement Thursday, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., threatened a subpoena to "ensure a satisfactory response" to the question of whether the White House has recordings, memos or other documents detailing meetings the president had with former FBI Director James Comey.

The committee originally asked that question on June 9, in a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn. The White House responded to the request, also in a letter, by simply pointing to the president's tweet in which he said he did not make and doesn't possess any tapes.

That response, Conaway and Schiff argue, wasn't enough.

"The President's statement on Twitter, and the White House's letter referring to the President's statement, were only partially responsive to the Committee's request," the statement said. "By only referring to the President's statement, the White House's letter stops short of clarifying for the Committee whether the White House has any responsive recordings, memoranda, or other documents."

The statement concludes that the committee will consider "using compulsory" action, or a subpoena, to make sure the White House responds "fully."

The development comes as Politico reported this week that the Senate Intelligence Committee will have the first congressional look at memos Comey wrote about his meetings with the president.

Here's the full text of the statement from Conaway and Schiff:

"On Friday, June 23, the House Intelligence Committee received a letter from the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs responding to the Committee's June 9 letter to the White House Counsel asking the White House to tell the Committee whether any recordings, memoranda, or other documents memorializing President Trump's conversations with former FBI Director Comey exist or ever existed — and, if they did exist, to produce copies of such materials to the Committee.

"The White House has responded by letter asking the Committee to refer to 'President Trump's June 22, 2017, statement regarding this matter' as its official response and quotes in full the President's statement that was made in the form of successive tweets, in which the President stated that he has 'no idea whether there are "tapes" or recordings' of his conversations with James Comey and that the President 'did not make' and does 'not have any such recordings.'

"Today, the Committee has sent the White House a second letter urging the White House to appropriately and fully comply with the Committee's June 9 request. The President's statement on Twitter, and the White House's letter referring to the President's statement, were only partially responsive to the Committee's request. By only referring to the President's statement, the White House's letter stops short of clarifying for the Committee whether the White House has any responsive recordings, memoranda, or other documents. Today's letter from the Committee makes clear that should the White House not respond fully, the Committee will consider using compulsory process to ensure a satisfactory response."

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