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GOP Senator Issues Subpoena to FBI Director, Demands All Documents Related to Russia Probe

Christopher Wray Donald Trump warning

Christopher Wray

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) issued a broad subpoena last week demanding “all documents related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation”—the operation conducted by the FBI that investigated Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The subpoena, which can be viewed here, is pretty standard. It commands FBI Director Christopher Wray to appear before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and produce all records relating to the various official reports on election interference.

Senator Johnson also released a lengthy letter on Monday, in which he detailed at great length his rationale for the subpoena. In that letter, Johnson explained that he has been, “patiently trying to work with these agencies and individuals on a voluntary basis,” but that he now has no choice but to issue subpoenas, “because of my strong belief that transparency in government is essential and that the American people have waited too long for the truth.”

The Democrats, according to Johnson, have engaged in “a coordinated disinformation campaign” to personally attack Johnson and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

A few paragraphs in, Johnson hit many of the now-standard GOP talking points. He mentioned the “Obama administration holdovers’ sabotage of the Trump administration,” Hillary Clinton’s emails, James Comey’s “exoneration” of Clinton, and the “cast of characters” involved in delivering misinformation including Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok. Johnson continued to outline the media coverage of the Steele Dossier, the narrative of “Russian collusion,” and eventually, the Mueller investigation.

The heart of Johnson’s letter, though, was his accusation that various organizations consistently thwarted the Senate Finance Committee in its effort to obtain documentation.

“The response time,” wrote Johnson, “has been extremely slow and the information has been woefully incomplete.” And it’s not about the simple slowness of government beaurocracy, either, opined Johnson. “I suspect there are other, more nefarious explanations,” he continued, “I don’t have polling data, but I doubt anyone could seriously dispute that a majority (probably a large majority) of career bureaucrats within federal agencies voted for Clinton and not Trump.”

Johnson explained that he was prompted to begin issuing subpoenas, because those “who would affirmatively take action to sabotage the president’s policies would also frustrate our attempts to obtain information … — especially if they themselves had been involved in actions we now are investigating.”

Johnson also devoted two pages to Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Ukraine, in which he presented a series of bullet-pointed questions probing into potential corruption between the Bidens and Ukrainian dealings. 

Finally, Johnson took general aim at Democrats and the press, writing, “The left is relentless. They play for keeps, and they don’t let rules or the truth get in their way”:

Now many of the same players that engineered a special counsel and impeachment against President Trump are brazenly teaming up again with a different target in mind: me. They are using the same tired old canard of Russian interference. You’d think they could come up with something better than that, but here they are, confident they can pull it off again. And with a compliant media, why wouldn’t they be confident?”

The subpoena demands the documents to be produced by August 20, 2020 at 5:00pm.

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos