May 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate Judiciary to vote on subpoena authorization in review of Russia probe

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.

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