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Trump, after House panel subpoenas, backs probing Obama administration

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday backed the U.S. House Intelligence Committee chairman’s efforts to investigate actions by U.S. security and other officials under previous president Barack Obama, inserting himself into a political feud amid the panel’s Russia probe.

“The big story is the ‘unmasking and surveillance’ of people that took place during the Obama Administration,” Trump said in a tweet, one day after the committee’s Republican chairman subpoenaed the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency.

Democrats shot back, accusing Trump, a Republican, of diverting attention from the ongoing scandal that has now hangs over his young presidency and criticizing committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ subpoenas.

On Wednesday, Nunes asked the agencies for details of any requests made by two top Obama administration aides and the former Central Intelligence Agency director to “unmask” Trump campaign advisers inadvertently picked up in top-secret foreign communications intercepts, according to congressional sources.

Another congressional source, who also requested anonymity, said Democrats were “informed and consulted” about the subpoenas ahead of time, but some committee aides said they were not.

In April, Nunes recused himself from leading the panel’s investigation into suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election following a secret visit he paid to White House officials, but retains subpoena power. A senior committee aide said Wednesday’s subpoenas were not part of the Russia probe.

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