Politics

Senate committee authorizes subpoenas in GOP investigation into origins of Mueller probe

Key Points
  • Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to authorize 53 subpoenas in connection with an investigation into the origins of former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • "We need to look long and hard how the Mueller investigation went off the rails," Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close political ally of President Donald Trump, said.
  • The committee authorized Graham to subpoena a variety of former government officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan, and James Clapper, former director of national intelligence.
US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting to consider authorization for subpoenas relating to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 11, 2020.
Erin Schaff | POOL | AFP | Getty Images

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to authorize 53 subpoenas in connection with an investigation into the origins of former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The afternoon vote along party lines grants the committee chairman, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the authority to issue the subpoenas, which will target a range of former government officials. 

"We need to look long and hard how the Mueller investigation went off the rails," Graham, a close political ally of President Donald Trump, said at the hearing. Graham is up for reelection this year. 

The 12-10 vote is an escalation of the GOP-led probe. It comes a month after Trump urged Graham to bring in former President Barack Obama to testify on what he called the "biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA."

"Do it @LindseyGrahamSC, just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!" Trump wrote in the May 14 post on Twitter.

Graham pushed back on the idea at the time, saying "it'd be a bad precedent to compel a former president to come before the Congress."

"That would open up a can of worms and for a variety of reasons I don't think that's a good idea," Graham said.

The committee authorized Graham to subpoena a variety of former government officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan, and James Clapper, former director of national intelligence.

Subpoenas were also authorized for Obama's former chief of staff, Denis McDonough, Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign chair, John Podesta, and Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the former FBI employees whose texts disparaging Trump during his campaign drew scrutiny. 

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee unsuccessfully sought to authorize subpoenas for former members of Trump's inner circle, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former attorney Michael Cohen. 

Some of the individuals for whom subpoenas were authorized on Thursday were also targeted a week ago by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which is pursuing its own investigation into the origins of Mueller's probe. That committee authorized 35 subpoenas on June 4, NBC News reported