Intel committee subpoenas comedian who met with Julian Assange in Russia probe

Nov 30 (Reuters) - A New York comedian has been compelled to appear before a House Intelligence Committee investigating suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election where he will likely face questions about acting as a go-between for Wikileaks and an ally of President Donald Trump.

Randy Credico, a political activist who hosted a radio show on New York radio, is scheduled to appear in front of the committee on Dec. 15, according to a photo of the subpoena posted on his Twitter account.

On several occasions over the last few years, Credico interviewed and met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a man believed by some U.S. officials and lawmakers to be an untrustworthy pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

RELATED: Key players in Trump-Russia connection allegations

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Key players in Trump-Russia connection allegations
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Key players in Trump-Russia connection allegations

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort signed on as Donald Trump's campaign manager in March 2016. A longtime Republican strategist and beltway operative, Manafort had previously served as an adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich -- a pro-Russia leader who was violently ousted in 2014. Manafort resigned from his campaign position in August 2016 amid questions over his lobbying history in Ukraine for an administration supportive of Russia. The former campaign manager reportedly remained in Trump's circle during the post-election transition period.

Michael Flynn

Gen. Michael Flynn was named President Trump's national security adviser in November of 2016. Flynn reportedly met and spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, at one point discussing sanctions. Flynn originally told Vice President Pence he did not discuss sanctions -- a point the Department of Justice said made the national security adviser subject to blackmail. Flynn resigned from his position in February.

Sergey Kislyak

Outgoing Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak is the Russian official U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions -- communication Sessions denied during his Senate committee hearing testimony.

R. James Woolsey

Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has cooperated with Mueller's investigation and worked with Michael Flynn and was present at a meeting where they discussed removing the controversial Turkish Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen from US soil. 

(Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Roger Stone

Stone is a longtime Republican political consultant who served as a campaign adviser to Trump who continued to talk with the then-GOP candidate after stepping away from his adviser role. Stone claimed last year that he had knowledge of the planned WikiLeaks release of emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Stone recently admitted to speaking via direct message with "Guccifer 2.0" -- an online entity U.S. officials believe is tied to Russia. Stone says the correspondence was “completely innocuous.”

Jeff Sessions

Former U.S. senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016. Sessions was nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President Trump and was then confirmed by the Senate. Reports then emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak while he was senator -- a fact that he left out of his Senate hearing testimony. Instead, he said in writing that he had not communicated with any Russian officials during the campaign season. Sessions defended himself saying he had spoken with Kislyak specifically in a senate capacity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The American intelligence community accused Putin in Jan. 2017 of ordering a campaign to undermine trust in the American electoral process, developing a clear preference for Trump as president. "We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the report read.

James Comey

Comey publicly confirmed in March an FBI inquiry into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election. “The F.B.I., as part of our counterintelligence effort, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 president election,” Comey stated.

Carter Page

Page worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banker out of their Moscow office for three years before joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. During his time with Merrill Lynch, Page advised transactions for two major Russian entities. Page has called Washington "hypocritical" for focusing on corruption and democratization in addressing U.S. relations with Russia. While Page is someone Trump camp has seemingly tried to distance itself from, Page recently said he has made frequent visits to Trump Tower.

J.D. Gordon

Before Gordon joined the Trump campaign as a national security adviser in March 2016, he served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005 through 2009. Like others involved in Trump-Russia allegations, Gordon met with ambassador Kislyak in July at the Republican National Convention, but has since denied any wrongdoing in their conversation. He advocated for and worked to revise the RNC language on and position toward Ukraine relations, so it was more friendly toward Russia's dealings in the country.

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Assange’s group released Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign that U.S. intelligence agencies say were hacked by Russia to try to tilt the election against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He is regarded with distaste by many in Washington, although Trump, then the Republican candidate, supported the group’s email releases last year.

Credico has also interviewed Republican political consultant Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally, who he worked with in the past to reform New York’s drug laws, according to the New York Times.

Stone flatly denied allegations of collusion between the president’s associates and Russia during the 2016 U.S. election in a meeting with House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in September.

During his appearance in front of the committee, Stone refused to identify an "opinion journalist" who had acted as a go-between between Stone and Assange.

According to Stone's own account to Reuters, he "reluctantly" identified the journalist as Credico in written communication to the committee.

The committee has been interested in predictions that Stone made about damage the email release would have on Clinton's campaign, the Times reported. (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Mark Hosenball in Washington D.C.)

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