Senator Lindsey Graham will ask his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for broad subpoena powers as he investigates the origins of the Russia investigation.
Graham plans to subpoena dozens of Obama-era officials in the Justice Department and FBI to determine who was ultimately responsible for investigating the Trump campaign. Some of those officials include Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former national intelligence director James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former FBI Director James Comey.
Essentially, Graham is following up on the inspector general’s damning report that fingered several FBI and Justice Department officials referenced in a report by the Justice Department inspector general’s review of the FBI’s handling of a surveillance warrant connected to that investigation.
The subpoena is unusually broad — committee subpoenas are usually specific to a smaller number of targets. But its approval, which will likely fall along party lines, would give Graham enormous, unilateral authority to conduct the probe.
Trump allies have been forcefully demanding for months that Graham take a more aggressive posture toward investigating the origins of the Russia probe, which Trump has assailed as a “hoax” against him for years.
Graham’s proposal would allow him to subpoena some of Trump’s most frequent Twitter targets, including former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.
This subpoena power will allow Graham to go far beyond investigating the FISA warrant process that trapped Carter Page. The senator will delve into the decision-making process that led to the investigation in the first place.
As his re-election fight heats up, Trump has been urging the Senate to go after Obama and his administration to see if any laws were broken in surveilling his campaign.
Trump in recent days has leaned on allies in the Senate, including Graham and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), to ramp up their probes of Obama administration officials, as Trump has sought to level unsupported allegations of criminality by his predecessor against his incoming administration. Graham recently shot down a suggestion by Trump to call Barack Obama himself, an action that Trump’s Justice Department has argued is unconstitutional, despite the current president’s call.
The investigation by the Judiciary Committee will also look into the Michael Flynn case, hoping to shed some light on exactly when he was targeted by the Justice Department.
There’s a chance that the Judiciary Committee probe would cross paths with the investigation by prosecutor John Durham, who is deep into his own investigation in the Russia collusion case. The prosecution of any individuals by Durham would hamper Graham’s fact-finding mission.