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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Subpoenas of Former Obama Admin Officials as Part of Crossfire Hurricane Probe

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved authorizations for subpoenas targeting former White House officials involved in the decision to launch an investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The motion passed 12-10 on a party line vote.

Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the subpoenas concern oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and why the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) initially opened the Trump-Russia investigation, also known as “Operation Crossfire Hurricane.”

“I want to know why all these counterintelligence investigations were opened to begin with.  I think we need to look long and hard at how these investigations got off the rails,” said Graham.

Several well-known individuals are among those whom the Committee authorized to be subpoenaed, including: John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Loretta Lynch, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, John Podesta, Susan Rice, Rod Rosenstein, Peter Strzok, and Sally Yates.

President Donald Trump has been putting increased pressure on congressional Republicans to subpoena officials from the Obama administration as part of a larger effort to malign his predecessor categorizing the investigation into his campaign as “the biggest political crime in American history.”

“This Committee is not going to sit on the sidelines and simply move on.  I can assure you we’re not going to be deterred. If we have to do it by ourselves, we will,” Graham said. “The American people deserve answers to these questions and we intend to get them.”

The Judiciary Committee’s first witness in the investigation, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, testified late last month that the investigation was necessary, though he also chastised the FBI for its numerous procedural failures and “significant errors” in FISA applications.

The origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, as well as the FBI’s numerous FISA failures, were previously documented by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz. In Dec. 2019, Horowitz’s office released a 400-page report on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, concluding that, despite a plethora of procedural failures, the FBI ultimately had a proper factual and legal basis for opening a full investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible coordination with Russia.

Graham also said he planned to focus on the use of information provided by former British government operative Christopher Steele in what’s become known as the “Steele dossier.”

“Anybody that was told about the unreliability of the dossier and continued to use it, they’re good candidates to go to jail or lose their job,” Graham said, adding. “Somebody needs to be held accountable for what happened here, and we’re going to be in the accountability business.”

The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee in April released the fourth volume of its probe into the intel community’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Senate Intel re-affirmed the finding from the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) that the Steele Dossier played no role in the FBI’s decision-making process and that President Vladimir Putin directed the Russian interference campaign with the intent to help President Trump.

[image via Mario Tama/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.