McConnell Backs Efforts to Subpoena Obama-era Officials

May 19, 2020 Updated: May 19, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that he supports fellow Republican colleagues’ efforts to subpoena several dozen Obama-era officials.

McConnell clarified his position after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced a similar plan.

Graham announced on Monday that his committee will debate and vote on a subpoena authorization for 53 top Obama administration officials, as part of its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse investigation and oversight of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

The vote on the subpoena authorization is scheduled for June 4, he said in a statement.

McConnell confirmed that the Senate Republicans will issue new subpoenas to Obama-era officials and would like to hear from former FBI director James Comey, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, former attorney general Loretta Lynch, and many others.

“Senate Republicans are taking steps to issue new subpoenas to a wide variety of Obama administration officials with some relationship to the abuses I’ve just laid out,” he said during his Senate floor speech. “The American people deserve answers about how such abuses could happen and we intend to get those answers.”

Crossfire Hurricane is the FBI’s codename for its counterintelligence investigation into allegations of collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

During the investigation, the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to spy on Trump 2016 presidential campaign adviser Carter Page.

The application was filed on Oct. 21, 2016, and renewed three times on Jan. 12, April 7, and June 29, 2017. The last two renewal applications were determined by the DOJ to be “not valid,” according to an unclassified order (pdf) released by presiding FISA Court Judge James Boasberg.

The investigation was transferred to former special counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017.

Mueller concluded his investigation and issued a report in April 2019.

The Crossfire Hurricane investigation was ultimately unable to establish any collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign. Mueller also found insufficient evidence to establish that Trump, or anyone from his campaign, colluded with Russia.

However, Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz identified numerous problems with the actions taken by FBI agents in obtaining the FISA warrant used to spy on Page.

In the IG Report (pdf) released on Dec. 9, 2019, Horowitz identified “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications, and many additional errors in the Woods Procedures.”

McConnell criticized that the FBI’s handling of the FISA warrant shows “gross incompetence or intentional bias” and said it is unacceptable.

“But this wasn’t just a run of the mill warrant. It was a FISA warrant to snoop on a presidential campaign,” he added.

Epoch Times reporter Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to the report.

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