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Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a close ally of President Trump, plans to work closely with Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to investigate potential abuses by the intelligence community — specifically whether the Russia probe was politically motivated, Meadows told Axios.

The bottom line: Trump allies, feeling emboldened after Attorney General William Barr's summary of the Mueller report, are teaming up to go on the offensive and conduct an oversight investigation of their own.

What he's saying: "I think the real problem is how did we weaponize the intelligence community and the FBI to create an investigation that has been conducted over a two-year period without a whole lot of fruit," Meadows said.

  • "Before a special counsel was ever established, the FBI knew that there was no evidence of conspiracy," he added. "... Based on the proof that I have, there is a strong indication that there were protocols that were breached, walls that were broken down, and candidly a lot of questions that are unanswered."

But Meadows, who unlike Graham does not serve in the majority, told Axios that his GOP colleagues in the House recognize they have "to rely on Sen. Graham for a lot of this," and said they plan to "share a number of documents" with Graham to help his investigative efforts.

  • "I've talked to Sen. Graham a couple of times," Meadows said. "We’ll actually be forwarding to his committee several binders of information with footnotes for areas that will highlight where ... and how they should look at it, and would at least give them a fast track" for how to review the documents.

The backdrop: Graham told Axios' Jonathan Swan that he promised Trump he would "take a hard look at the FISA process and intelligence operation."

  • Graham also announced during a press conference Monday that he plans to investigate whether the Justice Department and FBI influenced the 2016 election in support of Hillary Clinton, and said he will urge Barr to appoint a second special counsel.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

5 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.

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