Updated May 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Graham says investigation into Russia probe will be done before election

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Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday that he plans to finish his committee's investigation into the origins of the FBI's Russia probe by October and release a public report before the election, CNN reports.

Driving the news: Graham sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr and acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell on Tuesday asking them to name the Obama administration officials who requested the identities of members of the Trump campaign or transition team caught up in foreign surveillance reports.

  • The request follows Grenell's declassification of the names of the Obama officials who requested the "unmasking" of an American who wound up being former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Why it matters: Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have accused Republicans of carrying out a "fishing expedition" to target President Trump's enemies for political reasons. Graham dismissed the allegations and said he had been planning the investigation "for a long time."

  • "I want to do it before the election — I want to get all the information out there," Graham said.
  • "I'm trying to explain to the American people what happened in Crossfire Hurricane. I gave Mueller all the space he needed to do his job. He's done his job, we got the Mueller report, we're going to do this by October."

The big picture: President Trump and many of his conservative allies have spent the last few weeks promoting #Obamagate, or the conspiracy theory that President Obama ordered the investigation in order to undermine the incoming administration.

  • While Graham has dismissed Trump's calls to subpoena Obama himself, he announced on Monday that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on June 4 on a broad subpoena authorization to call Obama-era officials for testimony.
  • Possible witnesses include former FBI director James Comey, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, former CIA director John Brennan, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and dozens of others.

Go deeper: Barr says DOJ review of Russia probe unlikely to lead to prosecution of Obama or Biden

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