Politics

Intelligence Committee Could Subpoena Trump Tax Returns

Susan Collins says panel will go where Russia inquiry leads it

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is confident the Intelligence Committee will be able to conduct a thorough investigation into alleged Russian hacking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Susan Collins said she thinks the Intelligence Committee could subpoena President Donald Trump’s tax records as part of its investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election if that’s where the evidence leads.

“I don’t know whether we will need to do that,” the Maine Republican said Wednesday. “If it’s necessary to get to the answers, then I suspect that we would.”

Collins said during an appearance on Maine Public Radio that such a decision would come first from Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner.

“My hope is that we’ll have a lot of voluntary cooperation,” Collins said. “And keep in mind that in some ways, this is a counterintelligence operation — in many ways — and that’s what our committee specializes in.”

Collins said she would be asking for former national security adviser Michael Flynn to testify before the committee.

“We’re not going to exclude anyone from our review,” she said.

The four-term senator told one of the public radio callers that it was important, in the end, that the panel members “end up with a public report of our findings.” She also noted that the GOP only holds a one-seat majority on the committee.

“There are law enforcement implications, and we want to make sure that we’re doing it right,” said Collins, who made a brief reference to last Friday’s two-hour Intelligence Committee briefing that featured FBI Director James B. Comey.

“We are used to probing in-depth in this area,” she said.

Earlier in the interview, Collins noted that both she and fellow Mainer, independent Sen. Angus King, sit on the Intelligence panel, and that members generally spend two afternoons each week reviewing classified intelligence matters in a closed setting.

“This is a broad investigation, and I am confident that since it is a completely bipartisan investigation with full-time staff, that we will get to the bottom of this,” she said. “I will encourage that there be some public hearings as well as the closed hearings that we’re doing now, and that we issue a report.”

Collins declined to speculate on possible results, however.

“We’ve asked all of the agencies and campaign officials involved to preserve all documents, all emails, all text messages that could be in any way relevant to the investigation,” she said.

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