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Russia, unmasking probes expand to Obama aide Samantha Power

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Russia, unmasking probes expand to Obama aide Samantha Power

WATCH |  House Intelligence Committee issued 7 subpoenas on Wednesday. 

Trump commented on the investigation Thursday morning.

The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas on Wednesday in its wide-ranging probe of Russian election influence and intelligence gathering, and for the first time demanded to know whether President Obama's former United Nations ambassador Samantha Power sought to unmask spy information on Americans. 

The panel issued the demands for documents to Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen and one of his companies, as well as one subpoena each to former Trump National Security adviser Michael Flynn and his firm related to Russia contacts.

But the biggest surprise came when the panel issued three subpoenas seeking information on the unmasking of political figures in U.S. intelligence reports, adding Power to a list of two other former officials who have already acknowledged unmasking Americans names in intelligence reports in the final months of the Obama administration.

Circa first reported last month that former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former CIA Director John Brennan sought unmasked intelligence on Americans that had been gathered by the NSA.

Rice and Brennan subsequently confirmed they sought the unredacted names of Americans in NSA-sourced intelligence reports but insisted their requests were routine parts of their work and had no nefarious intentions.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devon Nunes has said he saw evidence in White House documents that suggested some unmasking requests targeted Trump campaign or transition officials and may have involved political rather than intelligence matters.

Power's name had not surfaced in the unmasking probe until Wednesday. A source directly familiar with the subpoena said information the committee received from the NSA and other intelligence sources in recent weeks led to the document demand.

Power was forced to resign from the Obama campaign in 2008 after being quoted as calling Hillary Clinton a monster in a newspaper interview, but later patched up her relationship with Clinton and rose to the job of UN ambassador, succeeding Rice when Rice was named National Security Adviser. 

The unmasking subpoenas did not go to Brennan, Rice or Powers personally, but rather to agencies who might have information about the requests.

More than 3,100 Americans names were unmasked in 2015 and 2016 during a tumultuous election, according to data released by the government. Republicans in Congress want to know if some of the unmaskings were politically motivated.

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