The twin efforts show that Congressional Republicans are moving forward with their investigations into the origin of the regime and the appointment of former special adviser Robert Mueller, while Congress is struggling with both the coronation pandemic and the police reform efforts. national demonstrations following the assassination of George Floyd.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to authorize calls to more than 50 officials who served in the Obama administration, including top officials such as former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director General and National Intelligence Cla. FBI James Comey.
The calls are part of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI investigation in Russia and the abuses uncovered by the Justice Department’s Inspector General linked to foreign surveillance orders received by her former adviser. Trump campaign, Carter Page. Senate Homeland Security and State of Law Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican in Wisconsin, is conducting a similar survey and his committee voted last week, according to the parties, to authorize many of the same government officials to call.
Senate Republicans’ investigations have been bolstered by a series of documents first declassified by former National Intelligence Deputy Director Richard Grenell and now by Ratcliffe, who succeeded Grenell last month after the Senate confirmation.
These documents focus on both the investigation and the prosecution of Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn – who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017 before the Department of Justice moved last month to drop the charges. and drafted the opposition’s research file. by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.
Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, on Thursday released the Ratings of the 2017 Information Society Assessment, which concluded that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election and tried to help Trump’s campaign. Ratcliffe declassified the document on Wednesday with some analysis and gave it to Congress.
The two-page document, which Comey briefed Trump on when he was elected president in January 2017, included a summary of the information reports provided by Steele to the FBI. While Steele is not named, the document states that an “FBI source” gathered the information on behalf of private clients. It was added as a classified appendix to the assessment of Community intelligence following an internal discussion on what to do with it, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The material sums up what is already known about Steele’s file: that Steele concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin was directing the intervention efforts, which were supported by the assessment of information, and that he made unconfirmed allegations that Trump’s advisers clashed with the Russians and the Kremlin “compromised” on Trump.
The declassified document states that the FBI had “only limited confirmation” of the reports and that the information was not used in the assessment, which describes in detail Russia’s electoral interventions and the Kremlin’s preference for Trump.
The inspector general of the Department of Justice accused the FBI of using Steele’s envelope to obtain orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on the page, although the inspector general said the file was not part of the decision to launch an anti-scientific investigation team. Trump and Russia.
The inspector general’s report, released in December, is the starting point for Graham and Grassley’s research. Both said they could publish reports describing the findings of their committees before the November election.
In a discussion of the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Republicans rejected a series of amendments proposed by Democrats to also issue a call to key Trump officials from Mueller’s investigation, including Flynn, former Trump campaign president Paul Manafort. Trump Jared Kushner, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump trust Roger Stone.
Democrats said the committee did not hear from officials, and their testimony was important in understanding why the FBI and Mueller’s team were conducting their investigations. According to the parties, the votes failed.
Graham claimed that the officials had already been interviewed by Mueller’s team and that Mueller had the opportunity to complete his work without intervention. Graham said his investigation was designed to look into why the anti-intelligence investigation into members of Trump’s team began and “because every time they should have stopped, they continued.”
“If there’s nothing there, then I’ll have an egg on my face, but I promise the American people we’ll get to why everyone was running signals,” Graham said.
Graham said he was willing to accept Democrats’ demands to bring Mueller or members of his team to testify, and also planned to hold a hearing with Justice Department officials to explain their decisions on Flynn’s case once it is completed. . That included, Graham said, allowing the testimony of a former judge appointed by the court on Wednesday that handling Flynn’s prosecution by the Department of Justice was “grave abuse of power” and argued that Flynn should convicted of lying.
Graham plans to hold a police hearing next week as lawmakers consider police reforms. However, Democrats on Thursday challenged the commission’s focus on Russia’s investigation instead of policing.
“If we pay attention to this inquiry, the calls that the commission is making today and the power to issue these calls, we will detach ourselves from this obligation and the opportunity to really reform the criminal justice system,” he said. said Sen Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat.