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Sen. Graham seeks authority to subpoena Comey, Brennan, Clapper

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) presides during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining liability issues during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak May 12, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Carlos Barria-Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham announced he will seek the authority to subpoena numerous former officials including ex-FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as part of his panel’s review of the Russia investigation.

Graham, a close ally of President Donald Trump, plans a committee vote to authorize subpoenas for witnesses and documents as he reviews the conduct of the inquiry known as Crossfire Hurricane and officials’ use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

In addition to Comey, Clapper and Brennan, Graham also wants authority to call Comey’s former deputy Andrew McCabe, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and dozens of others.

The committee is expected to vote on the authorization June 4.

Under the committee’s rules, the chairman can issue a subpoena only with the consent of the top member from the other party, or by a vote of the committee. It’s rare for the committee to issue subpoenas without the bipartisan backing of the chairman and ranking member.

The ranking member is Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

Among the items that could be sought are documents and testimony related to the dossier on Trump prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele.

Graham’s announcement comes as President Donald Trump has revived a theory that the Obama administration and anti-Trump factions within the intelligence agencies and the Justice Department improperly tried to undermine his election campaign in 2016.

While Graham wants the authority to require testimony and evidence from more than 50 people, the list of those who may receive subpoenas doesn’t include former President Barack Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump had called on Graham last week to bring Obama in to testify.

Instead, the list includes numerous high-ranking members of the Obama administration. Along with Lynch and Yates, it includes former chief of staff Denis McDonough, former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and former national security adviser Susan Rice.

Republicans also are ramping up other investigations tied to a Ukrainian natural gas company where Democratic presidential candidate Biden’s son Hunter served on the board.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, said the panel would vote Wednesday on whether to subpoena Blue Star Strategies, a firm that represented the Ukrainian company, Burisma Holdings Ltd., when Hunter Biden was on its board.


© 2020 Bloomberg News

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