Graham Announces Judiciary Committee Will Hold Hearings on Russia Investigation
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says his committee will begin looking at “all things related” to the Russia investigation in June.
Graham’s comments come as Republicans have increasingly focused on what they allege is prosecutorial misconduct in several aspects related to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and President Donald Trump’s campaign.
On Thursday morning, Trump offered up a suggestion for a witness for the committee, “If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama.”
“He knew EVERYTHING. Do it [Lindsey Graham] just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!” he added.
However, speaking to reporters, Graham dismissed that idea, “I don’t think now’s the time for me to do that. I don’t know if that’s even possible.”
He cautioned, “I understand President Trump’s frustration, but be careful what you wish for.”
But, in a separate statement, Graham said, “Both presidents are welcome to come before the committee and share their concerns about each other. If nothing else it would make for great television. However, I have great doubts about whether it would be wise for the country.”
He added that his committee would “begin holding multiple, in-depth congressional hearings regarding all things related to Crossfire Hurricane starting in early June.”
Crossfire Hurricane was the name given to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into whether members of Trump’s campaign were colluding with Russian operatives to help swing the presidential election.
Specifically, Graham said the Judiciary Committee would examine the Justice Department’s decision to file a motion to drop its prosecution of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn,
He also said the panel would look at requests from members of former President Barack Obama’s administration to unmask an American, who turned out to be Flynn, listed in intelligence reports.
SCOOP @CBSNews obtains @RichardGrenell notification to congress declassified “unmasking list” Flynn between late 2016 and January 2017 – Read 3 pages provided by NSA here pic.twitter.com/NozVpQlRn2
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 13, 2020
“We must determine if these requests were legitimate,” Graham said.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified and sent a list of unmasking requests to Congress. That list was released to the public on Wednesday, as IJR reported.
That list showed that “16 authorized individuals” made unmasking requests between November 2016 and January 2017.
“Each individual was an authorized recipient of the original report, and the unmasking was approved through NSA’s standard process, which includes a review of the justification for the request,” the document read.
It added, “While the principals are identified below, we cannot confirm they saw the unmasked information. This response does not include any requests outside of the specified time-frame.”
While former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper maintained that those requests were appropriate, Republicans suggested Obama administration officials were illegally “eavesdropping” on associates of Trump.
Additionally, Graham said he would look into alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to obtain surveillance warrants of Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
“My goal is to find out why and how the system got so off the rails,’ he said.
In December, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that there were several errors and omissions in FISA applications for Page.
Finally, Graham said he would examine whether it was appropriate to appoint Robert Mueller as a special counsel in the Russia investigation.
“Was there legitimate reason to conclude the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russians?” Graham asked.
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