By Duncan Smith
Senate Republicans finally want to hear from Obama-era officials about their potential roles in the ‘Spygate’ scandal.
Fox News reported Tuesday that Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is considering issuing those officials subpoenas to compel their testimony if need be.
The network added:
The source told Fox News that the committee, which has been investigating the origins of the FBI’s original probe through the appointment of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is considering inviting former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan to testify before the committee.
Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also said last week that he wants the committee to hear from former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in the summer months.
The source told Fox News that the committee would invite the ex-officials to appear but would subpoena them if they encounter resistance. The source told Fox News that Senate investigators are looking at “various pieces” coming from “various sources” as part of their investigation.
“This is a multilevel puzzle,” the source said. “They are looking at layer upon layer, and you have to be able to tell the story of exactly what was going on, and who was doing what, when, and why.”
Suddenly, it is beginning to look like an orchestrated effort to out Obama-era officials ahead of the 2020 election is underway.
Graham has been promising hearings since he took over the committee in January 2019 but has yet to deliver. He’s also threatened to subpoena people if they refuse to show up voluntarily. But until now, he’s done little to nothing about the Russiagate scandal.
News of potential hearings comes on the heels of the Justice Department’s decision last week to drop its case against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and after Fox News reported separately that “acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has decided to declassify information about Obama administration officials who were behind the ‘unmasking’ of Flynn — whose calls with the former Russian ambassador during the presidential transition were picked up in surveillance and later leaked.”
Regarding new Senate hearings, Fox News notes further:
One area Senate investigators are exploring is a Jan. 5, 2017 meeting in the Oval Office involving Yates, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Obama.
A document unsealed last week as part of the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the case against Flynn detailed a special counsel interview of Yates, which indicated Obama was aware of Flynn’s intercepted December 2016 phone calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period.
The document revealed Yates learned about the calls during that meeting. At that point, the document said, “Yates had no idea what the president was talking about, but figured it out based on the conversation. Yates recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act, but can’t recall if he specified there was an ‘investigation.’ Comey did not talk about prosecution in the meeting.”
In January 2017, Comey sent two FBI agents — Peter Strzok and the other believed to be Bill Priestap — to interview Flynn in violation of protocol because the agents did not go through the White House counsel’s office. Comey later bragged that because the incoming Trump administration was chaotic, he just decided to send a couple of agents over without telling the White House counsel or even informing Flynn he was being interrogated.
“As soon as his case is dismissed, we will be pursuing the Flynn investigation to try to explain how it got so off the rails, starting with offering General Flynn a chance to come to the committee and tell the country what it was like to go through this,” Graham said on Fox News’ “Hannity” last week.