Graham seeks broad authority to subpoena Obama-era officials over Russia probe
Ø On Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said that his panel would vote next month on a subpoena, which will authorize to review documents, communications and solicit testimony from former Obama administration officials as part of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Ø The proposal, if passed, would allow testimony and documents from officials including Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former national intelligence director James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.
Ø In a press release, Graham announced that the subpoena vote will be a part of his panel’s investigation into “FISA abuse” and FBI probe “Crossfire Hurricane.”
Ø Graham said he would be investigating the "unmasking" of Flynn and the origin of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Trump’s campaign.
Ø Along with the review of testimony and documents, the committee would also review the receipt and analysis of reports prepared by former British intelligence official Christopher Steele. The reports were made available to the FBI, which was already investigating the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials.
Ø Trump allies have long been demanding that Graham gets more aggressive towards investigating the origins of the Russia probe.
Ø The Senate Judiciary Committee rules do not give chairman the power to issue subpoena unilaterally. The chairman must either have the backing of the ranking member (Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)), or get a majority committee vote.
Ø The committee will vote on the subpoena authorization on June 4.
Trading Conspiracy Theories
Trading ‘Russiagate’ for ‘Obamagate’, Trump and the Republicans are attempting to draw attention away from the White House’s appalling response to the coronavirus crisis. Rather than uncovering any semblance of truth, Graham is simply covering his and his party’s tail.
In many ways, the Democrats gave this one to Trump, throwing him a slow pitch right over the middle of the plate. The unmitigated disaster of ‘Russiagate’ and subsequent impeachment hearings served this up to Trump in nearly perfect form. Years of building the Russia connection, only to reveal it never existed in any meaningful way, while ignoring the overwhelming evidence of Trump’s comically open corruption and flouting of basic human rights. Democratic leadership chose not to pursue impeachment of Trump on more principled crowds likely because they either believed the same accusations could be thrown back at them or they don’t actually care about the vulnerable people most threatened by a Trump presidency. Have we all really moved on from Trump expanding the American government’s ability to hold migrant children in literal concentration camps at the border?
To look to a similar case of bipartisan hackery, we only need to go back a couple of weeks. When it was revealed in late March that multiple members of Congress sold stocks after intelligence briefings that detailed the devastating effects of coronavirus, an outcry called for resignations. Republican Senator Richard Burr seems to have made the most egregious stock sale, but Republicans Kelly Loeffler and Jim Inhofe and Democrat Dianne Feinstein were also implicated. What cannot be explained by either party is why is it ok for our elected officials to have millions of dollars in the stock market, especially at a time when the American worker has been squeezed by a deepening economic recession.
The latest move by Graham is simply another partisan distraction, likely little new information will be revealed, and perhaps most importantly for the political ramifications, voters won’t pay attention. The lines have already been drawn on ‘Russiagate’ and ‘Obamagate’, meanwhile, the American people are left out to dry.
The fact is that there are questions about Obamagate that remain unanswered. Like Antonio pointed out, we don’t know how Flynn’s identity was revealed. Anyone would agree that when important questions are unanswered, then it is perfectly fine to investigate and find answers! After all, Democrats launched an investigation to look for answers, and it is perfectly fine for Republicans to do the same. This is not just simply a distraction, as the idea of the Obama spying on the Trump campaign revealed during the virus. It is very timely to start an investigation as new information comes up quickly.
Now for addressing your other attack on Trump. The Democrats didn’t impeach Trump on immigration reform because they knew, along with almost everyone else, that it was not an impeachable offense. I’ll be the first person on the right to disagree with how the kids were treated on the border. It shouldn’t have happened. But to call them concentration camps is too far. They were literally NOT concentration camps.
The Democrats Should be Sweating Right Now
“The absurd cynicism of ‘Obamagate,’” read one Washington Post headline. Both Vox and CNN have referred to Obamagate as a conspiracy theory. And an article in the left-wing website Salon said Trump supporters were “on the verge of wetting their pants” in excitement over Obamagate.
The Democrats are obviously not taking this seriously, so they should have no problem testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Right?
I actually believe members of the Obama Administration should be very nervous right now. Let’s take a look at the facts.
First off, how did the FBI know that Michael Flynn talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29th, and how did they know what was said?
When a phone call between a foreigner and an American citizen is intercepted, the identity of the American citizen is “masked” to protect their identity. There are several ways of revealing the identity of the “masked” citizen, however. One such method is through a FISA court. When dealing with the FISC, the FBI must prove that the American citizen is acting as a foreign agent.
Another way to “unmask” is for either intelligence officials or bureaucrats to request the unmasking of the American. Most people assume that is how Flynn’s identity was revealed. However, the timeline doesn’t match up. Flynn’s phone call happened on December 29th, and no requests to unmask Flynn were made until January 5th, the day of a morning Oval Office meeting between Obama, Comey, Yates, and Biden. But…they already knew about the Flynn/Kislyak call by the time they had that meeting. Was the recording of the call sent to the CIA by a “friendly” foreign intelligence agency?
Was the Obama Administration colluding with foreign actors to spy on Flynn and, consequently, the Trump team?
This is just one example of the egregious corruption within the Obama Administration as it relates to the 2016 election. I would run out of words writing about the Clinton-funded Steele Dossier, the FBI’s dishonest interrogation tactics, and the admission from FBI Agent Peter Strozk that the whole investigation was an “insurance policy.”
You are exactly right Antonio, Democrats are not taking this seriously.
In the face of definite Russian interference in American elections and the possibility that one of the Presidential candidates colluded with the interference, what did democrats do? They held an investigation.
Websters dictionary defines investigation as a systematic inquiry, especially the conduction of an official inquiry.
And that’s it. An investigation is not a condemnation, it is not even a measurement of guilt. An investigation is an inquiry into suspicious activities. That's what we want from law enforcement.
Let’s not forget that there was a myriad of connections between Trump officials and Russian agents, there was a pattern that required investigation. Flynn was GUILTY of lying to the FBI about undisclosed money and contacts he had with foreign agents. He will forever be guilty, regardless of how much the President leans on the DOJ to get him off the hook.
An investigation is what we expect our law officials to do when they witness or are told about suspicious activity. And I, along with any other democrats, support the rule of law and the importance of due process. Republicans can complain all they want that there was a “witch hunt” or undue vilification of Trump officials in terms of Russiagate. But, in the end, there was a full independent investigation which revealed the truth. Trump and his team were given their fair due according to the laws and ways of the U.S.A, and Democrats will expect the same.
Democrats WILL have no problem testifying before the Judiciary committee. Many of the people mentioned were the highest ranking law enforcement officials in the nation. No one will be more willing to co-operate with the laws and subpoenas of their country than these people.
Hilary Clinton held 8 hours of public testimony before congress regarding Benghazi. Comey has appeared before congress, as has John Brennan. Democrats don't have a history of flouting the law and refusing to testify.
So, of course Democrats will co-operate with the house and senate. And Republicans will get the distraction they want from their Coronavirus failure.