Ron Johnson subpoenas documents from FBI director as part of Russia origins probe

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), is subpoenaing the FBI as part of his probe into the Russia investigation. 

Johnson, in a subpoena addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray, wants records related to Crossfire Hurricane, the name of the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference and the Trump campaign. 

That includes, according to the subpoena, any records previously given to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz as part of his review of the four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. While Horowitz found that the decision by the FBI to open an investigation was not motivated by political bias, he also found a combined 17 significant errors and omissions in the four warrant applications. 

An FBI spokesperson said that the agency has been providing documents to the committee on a “rolling basis,” and has increased resources in order to do so.

“The FBI has already been producing documents and information to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which are directly responsive to this subpoena. As always, the FBI will continue to cooperate with the Committee’s requests, consistent with our law enforcement and national security obligations,” the agency added in a statement.

Johnson, as HSGAC chairman, was previously granted authority to subpoena the FBI, as well as more than 30 individuals, as part of a June party line committee vote. 

“Two months later, after patiently trying to work with these agencies and individuals on a voluntary basis, I have decided to begin issuing subpoenas primarily because of my strong belief that transparency in government is essential and that the American people have waited too long for the truth,” Johnson wrote in a letter released Monday explaining the subpoena and defending his investigation. 

The subpoena marks the first Johnson has issued as part of a broad investigation that includes reviewing the FBI probe, as well as looking into the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and leaks stemming from the early days of President Trump’s administration.

Johnson also indicated on Monday that he is prepared to subpoena Jonathan Winer, a former State Department employee.

Winer, in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed, confirmed that former British spy Christopher Steele and allies of Hillary Clinton gave him intelligence reports claiming that Trump was compromised by the Russians. He distilled the dossier into a two-page summary that he shared with former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who notified then-Secretary of State John Kerry. 

Johnson, in the new letter, also defended his separate investigation focusing on the Obama-era State Department and Hunter Biden, the son of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, arguing that Democrats are waging a “disinformation campaign” against the investigation. 

“We didn’t target Joe and Hunter Biden for investigation; their previous actions had put them in the middle of it,” Johnson wrote. 

Democrats have increasingly targeted Johnson’s investigation, believing that it is aimed at meddling in the 2020 presidential election and could spread Russian disinformation. 

Johnson also specifically rebuts a Washington Post op-ed from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who called for intelligence detailing Russian efforts to influence the 2020 elections to be declassified and made available to the public.

“By keeping the facts cloaked in secrecy, the Trump administration and its Republican allies on Capitol Hill invite disinformation and give deception a toehold in the American electorate. And it now appears that such disinformation and deception are gaining a toehold in Congress as well,” Blumenthal wrote. 

Johnson reiterated in his letter that his committee had not taken information from Andriy Derkach, a Ukrainian official whose father worked for Russian intelligence, who previously said he had given information to the Senate panel. 

“Let me be clear: The investigation by my committee of allegations of conflicts of interest within the Obama administration related to Ukraine policy and of allegations of corruption within the Obama administration affecting the 2016 election is focused on documents and officials from U.S. government agencies and a U.S. Democrat-linked lobbying firm. We have not taken, nor do we possess, the documents from Ukrainians that Democrats keep claiming,” Johnson wrote. 

–This report was updated at 11:17 a.m.

Tags Christopher Wray Crossfire Hurricane Donald Trump Hillary Clinton John Kerry Ron Johnson Russia Investigation

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