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Photo: Carlos Barria-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced on Monday that his committee will debate and vote on June 4 on a broad subpoena authorization that would allow him to compel testimony from Obama-era officials as part of an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

Why it matters: The authorization will mark a significant step in the Senate Judiciary Committee's review of possible FBI misconduct as it relates to both surveillance abuse and unsubstantiated allegations that the Russia investigation was politically motivated.

  • 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.
  • The Justice Department is currently conducting its own criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. Attorney General William Barr said Monday that he does not expect it to result in charges against Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden.

Details: The subpoena, if approved, will authorize Graham to compel documents, communications and testimony from dozens of officials and relevant witnesses from outside the government, including:

  • Current FBI director Christopher Wray
  • Former FBI director James Comey
  • Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe
  • Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
  • Former CIA director John Brennan
  • Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates
  • Former UN ambassador Samantha Power
  • Former national security adviser Susan Rice

Between the lines: Graham shot down a request from Trump last week to compel Obama to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  • Graham said his committee will host hearings "regarding all things related" to the Russia investigation, but that he is "greatly concerned by the precedent that would be set by calling a former president for oversight."
  • "[B]oth presidents are welcome to come before the committee and share their concerns about each other. If nothing else it would make for great television. However, I have great doubts about whether it would be wise for the country," he added.

Go deeper

The missed cyber opportunity in the Senate Intel report on Russia

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Senate Intelligence Committee detailed shocking new revelations about the 2016 Trump campaign's dealings with Russia in the landmark final volume of its report on the matter, but it missed an opportunity to recommend cybersecurity fixes for today’s campaigns and parties — perhaps by design.

Why it matters: The DNC and RNC could be considered a type of “critical infrastructure,” because without them and the presidential and congressional fundraising they facilitate, U.S. politics as we know it wouldn’t exist. But because they fall outside the government’s protective cybersecurity remit, they are also uniquely vulnerable to outside threats.

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.