In a separate statement on Wednesday, Republican Representative Mike Conaway and Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who are leading the committee's Russian Federation probe, announced subpoenas for Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as well as their firms.
The subpoenas were part of seven total issued by the panel Wednesday; the other three relate to the alleged politically motivated unmasking of Trump campaign officials in intelligence reports, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before a Senate committee next Thursday as part of a probe into alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election and possible collusion with President Donald Trump's campaign. The subpoenas went to the agencies and not to those individuals personally, and it's unclear whether requests for the same information were sent out prior to the subpoenas.
Another aide disputed that account, saying that "the minority was fully informed and consulted in accordance with committee rules".
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"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", Conaway and Schiff said in a joint statement. "We will continue to pursue this investigation wherever the facts may lead".
The ability to "incidentally" collect intelligence on Americans has long rankled civil rights and privacy advocates, including Nunes and others in Congress such as Sen.
Schiff was referring to Jeff Sessions' written recommendation to Trump that he should fire former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.
At a Wednesday briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said inquiries about the Russian Federation investigation must be directed to Trump's longtime personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz. The committee aide, who wasn't authorized to discuss the issue and spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the action would have been taken without agreement from the Democratic minority on the committee.
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The requests to unmask the names of Trump associates underwent the same stringent evaluations that USA privacy laws and intelligence regulations require for all such applications, and they produced nothing out of the ordinary, said the four officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Behind the scenes at the Capitol, a struggle played out between lawmakers on the House Russia investigation in the leadup to the issuing of the first subpoenas, CNN reported last week. The most intriguing detail of the subpoenas is the demand for any information related to requests for unmasking by Samantha Power, President Obama's ambassador to the United Nations. "Nunes is supposed to be completely out of the Russian Federation investigation", said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a group whose complaint to the Ethics Committee prompted Nunes to announce he was stepping back from the Russian Federation probe in early April. Cohen said he would be happy to testify if he got a subpoena. Trump tweeted Thursday that it was "the big story" and deserved more attention than Russian election meddling. "I only learned about this late the night before, and that's a problem", Schiff said.
Some reports claimed Nunes issued the subpoenas without consulting Democrats on the panel, but the aide said that was "absolutely false", and that they were consulted beforehand.
"You often couldn't understand what was going on unless you asked for the identity of the US persons", once former official told Foreign Policy.
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