A Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee says she is open to requesting President Trump's tax returns as part of the panel's ongoing investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 elections.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine made the remark to a local radio program on Wednesday in which she stated that "many of the members" on the Intelligence panel will formally request that ousted national security adviser Michael T. Flynn testify before the committee.
Flynn has come under scrutiny after revelations that he misled Vice President Pence about the substance of conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period before Trump was installed as president. Intelligence officials said Flynn discussed sanctions the U.S. has imposed against Moscow.
Collins did not say whether she expected Flynn to testify openly or behind closed doors to the committee, which conducts much of its business in private. But she did stress that there should "be some public hearings" as part of the process and that the Intelligence Committee should issue a report once its probe is completed.
Collins also added that the committee could ultimately subpoena Trump's tax returns, after being asked directly about the subject by the program host. Democrats say that Trump's tax returns would reveal any business dealings he or his companies have in Russia.
"If it's necessary to get to the answers then I suspect we would," Collins said, noting that at this point, she had no idea whether such a demand would be necessary.
The Senate Intelligence Committee's review appears to be kicking into a higher gear, after a nearly two-hour long briefing by committee members received from FBI Director James B. Comey on Friday. Collins referred to the briefing as "helpful."
Over the weekend, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted that the meeting inspired confidence that a bipartisan and thorough investigation of Russia's election-related activities whould take place.
"All of us are determined to get the answers," Collins said. "In some ways, this is a counterintelligence cooperation — in many ways — and that's what our committee specializes in."
This is an article from the Washington Post, February 22, 2017.
Collins, the last Republican Senator from New England,didn't support Trump in the election. She wrote in (gulp) Paul Ryan.
In the first 3 weeks of Trump's presidency, Collins has denounced his lack of coordination with other agencies on his immigration executive order, and was one of only two Republicans to vote against Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department.
She also spoke out against the White House for failing to mention Jews in its statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day. On Friday, she was the only Republican to vote against Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
We now know she has an inclination to do the right thing on his taxes as the Senate begins its investigation on Russia and Trump.
How do we move her to be a champion for calling for his tax returns? If you think calling will help, her phone number is (202) 224-2523. If you call, please also encourage her to support an investigation by a special prosecutor. Remember to thank her as you ask her to do more.
February 23, 2017