Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.). Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The Senate Homeland Security Committee voted 8-6 along party lines Wednesday to allow its chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to issue subpoenas to more than 35 individuals as part of a wide-ranging review of the origins of the Russia investigation.

The big picture: The sweeping authorization will allow Johnson, who is investigating the FBI's probe into Trump campaign and transition officials, to subpoena Obama administration officials like former FBI director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and more.

  • Johnson and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is leading his own committee's investigation into the Russia probe and alleged misconduct by FBI officials, have said they plan to issue reports before November's election.
  • Johnson is also leading an investigation into Hunter Biden and his work for Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
  • Democrats on both committees have accused Republicans of carrying out a politically motivated fishing expedition at a time when the U.S. is facing multiple crises.

The backdrop: The vote comes one day after the Judiciary Committee received testimony from former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about his appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller and his approval of an application to continue surveillance on Carter Page, a former foreign-policy adviser to President Trump.

What to watch: The Judiciary Committee held a debate Thursday on authorizing subpoena power for Graham, but pushed back its vote until next week.

Go deeper: Rod Rosenstein defends Mueller appointment at hearing on Russia probe

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Lawmakers probe DHS after whistleblower complaint on Russian interference

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sept. 1. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating the Department of Homeland Security based on a former senior officials' whistleblower complaint that he was told to stop giving assessments on threats of Russian interference in the U.S. because it "made the president look bad," lawmakers announced Friday.

Why it matters: The National Counterintelligence and Security Center has concluded that Russia is seeking to undermine Joe Biden's campaign and the Democratic Party, while supporting President Trump's candidacy.

Sep 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House Homeland Security panel subpoenas acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) on Friday subpoenaed Chad Wolf, citing the DHS acting secretary's refusal to appear at a hearing next week on global threats.

Driving the news: A DHS official said it would be "inappropriate" for Wolf to appear at the Sept. 17 hearing due to his then-pending nomination for secretary of homeland security, per a letter to the panel earlier this week. The agency offered acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli to be present instead.

Bill Clinton slams McConnell and Trump: "Their first value is power"

Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) vow to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat before the next presidential inauguration "superficially hypocritical."

The big picture: Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the court in 1993, declined to say whether he thinks Democrats should respond by adding more justices if they take back the Senate and the White House in November. Instead, he called on Republicans to "remember the example Abraham Lincoln set" by not confirming a justice in an election year.