Senate Judiciary Authorizes Subpoenas For Obama Officials Amid Russia Probe Review



The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved subpoenas for documents and testimony from top Obama administration officials as part of the panel’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe during the 2016 presidential election.

The committee voted Thursday to approve a measure giving broad authority to Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S. C., to subpoena more than 50 mostly former Obama administration officials as part of its investigation.

The subpoenas apply to former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others.

The panel rejected a call by Democrats to subpoena those associated with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The Democrats sought subpoenas for George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, among others.

All amendments and authorizations were approved or tabled on party-line votes.

The committee last week was slated to vote on whether to give Graham the power to issue those subpoenas, but after hours of debate last week, the panel decided to wait to vote on the matter Thursday amid concerns raised by Democrats on the committee.

The subpoena authorization approved Thursday would also cover any documents, communications and testimony “related to any aforementioned matter” from current and former officials, including former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, former FBI officials Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, James Baker and Bill Priestap, as well as former DOJ official Bruce Ohr, among others.

The authorizations would also cover individuals involved in the Steele Dossier, including Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr.

“I have to do this this way if I want to get to the bottom of what happened,” Graham said, adding to his Democratic colleagues that “I promise you that you will get your say.”

Under committee rules, Graham cannot unilaterally issue a subpoena. The committee chairman can only issue a subpoena with the consent of the ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., or by a committee vote.

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Feinstein, during the business meeting to consider the subpoenas last week, slammed Graham’s proposal to authorize the subpoenas, saying if approved, it would give him “unbridled authority to go after Obama era officials,” something, she said, she could not support.

Feinstein on Thursday said that if the committee is going to engage in a deeper investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, that Democrats would like former Special Counsel Robert Mueller to appear for testimony before the committee — a request she and Democrats on the committee made to Graham last year.

… (Read more)

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