Graham Seeking New Probe Into Origin of FBI’s Russia Investigation Before Election

May 20, 2020 Updated: May 23, 2020

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that he intends to release the findings of a new probe into the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation before the 2020 presidential election in November.

“I want to do it before the election, I want to get all the information out there,” Graham told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday.

Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced on May 14 that the committee will “begin holding multiple, in-depth congressional hearings regarding all things related to Crossfire Hurricane starting in early June.”

Graham seeks to release a report by October, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, The Hill reported last week. When asked on Tuesday whether the timing would appear as though Graham was trying to influence the election, he responded, “I’m trying to explain to the American people what happened.”

Graham also said he had been “planning this for a long time,” reported CNN.

“I’m trying to explain to the American people what happened in Crossfire Hurricane. I gave Mueller all the space he needed to do his job. He’s done his job, we got the Mueller report, we’re going to do this by October,” he said.

Crossfire Hurricane, launched in July 2016, is the FBI’s code name for its counterintelligence investigation into allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. It is also informally referred to as the FBI’s “Russia investigation.” Robert Mueller, who took over the investigation in May 2017, after 22 months did not ultimately find sufficient evidence to establish any collusion.

Graham said in his announcement that the Senate Judiciary Committee will inquire into the government’s decision to dismiss the case against former Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. The committee will also investigate the unmasking requests made by Obama administration officials against Flynn.

Next, the committee will conduct oversight that builds upon the report about FISA abuses against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Graham said. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report in December 2019 that found that the four warrant applications the FBI used to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page have “17 significant errors or omissions.”

The committee will also examine whether Mueller “should have ever been appointed as special counsel.”

Graham announced on Monday that he is seeking authorization from the Senate Judiciary Committee to subpoena documents, communications, and testimony of more than 50 top Obama administration officials. This includes any individual referenced in Horowitz’s report, as well as “any current or former executive branch official or employee” involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, including reports prepared by former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele, also referred to as the “Steele dossier.”

The officials who may be subpoenaed include former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and many others.

Graham on Tuesday asked Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell and Attorney General William Barr to declassify the names of any Obama-era officials who may have sought to unmask the identities of people associated with the Trump campaign or transition team. This comes after Grenell on May 13 released a list of 39 Obama administration officials who submitted requests to unmask the identity of Flynn from Nov. 8, 2016, to Jan. 31, 2017. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Brennan, and Comey were among the names on the list.

Separately, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), asked Grenell in a letter to Grenell on Tuesday (pdf) for information surrounding all unmasking requests of the Trump campaign made by Obama administration officials dating back as early as January 2016.

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