The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that subpoenas could be the next step if the White House doesn’t comply with a Friday deadline to hand over information on any tapes of President Donald Trump’s meetings with former FBI Director James Comey.
Rep. Adam Schiff suggested in an interview the intelligence panel could also consider issuing subpoenas to get hold of memos Comey wrote and gave to some colleagues and friends about his interactions with Trump.
“I certainly would hope we’ll get a response from the White House by Friday,” Rep. Adam Schiff said in an interview Wednesday, referring to his committee’s deadline to receive the tapes — if any exist, as the president hinted in a tweet last month. “If we don’t, then we’ll have to determine what the next steps are.”
Asked if next steps could include subpoenas, the California Democrat responded: “Yes, it could.”
Rep. Mike Conaway, the Republican leading the intelligence panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, would have to agree to any effort to issue subpoenas, as would House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
Conaway said Wednesday he did not know whether the Trump administration would meet the Friday deadline. “I’m not clairvoyant,” the Texas Republican quipped.
Comey’s memos — and possible tapes of his conversations with Trump — have been a source of controversy and speculation on Capitol Hill ever since last month, when The New York Times reported that Comey kept detailed memos of his interactions with the president. That includes a meeting in which Trump allegedly suggested to Comey he should drop the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — a revelation that has led some to accuse the president of obstructing justice.
Shortly before that story published, Trump had suggested the existence of tapes in a tweet, writing: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
More than a month later, Congress has yet to get its hands on the memos or any tapes, despite requests from several House and Senate Committees. A friend of Comey’s has said he turned over copies of the memos to the FBI.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday he expects Trump this week to clarify whether such tapes exist.
Conaway and Schiff requested information on any tapes and copies of the memos earlier this month, setting a Friday deadline for the tapes.
The Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees are also seeking any tapes and memos.
The Judiciary panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, said Tuesday she did not know yet whether either panel would actually get them.