May 21 2020
Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) inserted a statement into the committee record on the authorization for subpoenas relating to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. The full statement follows:
“Mr. Chairman, I will have more to say on these agenda items when we vote on them at our next markup. But I would like to make a few remarks now on the subpoena motion listed on the agenda.
I take real exception to this motion.
It is an end-run around committee rules. Our subpoena rule allows issuance of a subpoena by the chair ‘with the agreement of the ranking member or a vote of the committee.’ This is Rule IX of our current rules, which we adopted by unanimous consent in 2017.
The chair’s motion does not require my agreement or a vote on a specific subpoena. Rather, it would allow the chair to issue any subpoena that he wants ‘after consulting’ with me, which could be a mere phone call stating his intent to send a subpoena.
In fact, through this motion, the chair seeks to give himself sole authority to issue hundreds of subpoenas.
- any document or person referenced in DOJ Inspector General Horowitz’s 434-page report on the Carter Page FISA applications;
- any other documents or witnesses related to Crossfire Hurricane, the early stages of the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia; and
- 53 current or former U.S. officials, the vast majority of whom served under President Obama – such as former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and CIA Director John Brennan.
Several of these officials worked side-by-side with Vice President Biden – the Democratic nominee for president.
For example, Steve Ricchetti, who is on the chair’s list, was Biden’s chief of staff during Obama’s second term (from 2013 to 2017). And he is currently the chair of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Put simply, this motion grants the chair unbridled authority to go after Obama-era officials in order to bolster the president’s conspiracy theories and denigrate the president’s political rival, Joe Biden.
We have seen this from our Republican colleagues before. During the 2016 presidential election, they attacked Hillary Clinton. Republicans on this committee sent over 146 letters demanding information related to Clinton starting in 2015. And Republicans in the House spent $7 million taxpayer dollars investigating Clinton through the Benghazi select panel.
Now, it appears that Republicans want to use the subpoena power of this committee to attack Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
Last week, President Trump tweeted about the alleged ‘Russian Collusion Hoax.’ He then called on Chairman Graham directly to ‘get tough and move quickly, or it will be too late’ to investigate officials from President Obama’s time in office.
This motion appears to be a response to the president’s demand.
The committee should not conduct politically-motivated investigations designed to attack or help any presidential candidate, period.
This would be true at any time – but even more so now, in the middle of a public health and economic crisis.
I hope that you will reconsider this, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.”