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Senator Graham granted significant subpoena power for investigation into 2016 Russia probe

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman was granted the subpoena power for a wide range of interviews and documents

Updated: June 11, 2020 - 5:25pm

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Thursday was grant broad subpoena power in his probe into the federal government's 2016 Russia-Trump campaign probe, allow him call more than 50 people for interviews, including high-profile Obama administration officials.  

Graham received the authorization in a party-line vote in the GOP-controlled committee. 

"I find myself in a position where I think we need to look long and hard about how the Mueller investigation got off the rails. This committee is not going to sit on the sidelines and move on," said Graham, a South Carolina Republican.

The committee is currently conducting a broad investigation into the 2016 Russia probe, including "Crossfire Hurricane," which was the FBI's name for their investigation into Russian election interference by way of the Trump campaign. The FBI's actions during that operation gave way to what is broadly referred to as the (now mostly debunked) Russia-collusion narrative.

With Thursday's vote, Graham now has the authority to subpoena former intelligence officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The committee chairman has also been granted the authority to subpoena documents and records reference in Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report assessing the use of FISA warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Tensions ran high during the committee meeting in which member voted on the subpoenas.

To issue a subpoena, the committee chairman needs to either strike a deal with the top Democrat – now California Sen. Dianne Feinstein – or secure a majority vote by the committee. 

Republicans hold a 12-10 majority, so they were able to grant Graham unilateral subpoena power, rejecting several amendments by the Democrats. 

"Unfortunately, it appears that Senate Republicans now plan to spend the next several months bolstering the president’s attack on the Russia investigation and his Democratic nominee, Democrat Joe Biden. Congress should not conduct politically motivated investigations designed to attack or help any presidential candidate," Feinstein said.

Graham is aiming to put out a report on his findings by October, which would keep the issue in the spotlight in the days leading up to the November election. 

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