GOP Senator Subpoenas FBI Over Russia 08/10 06:06
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said Monday that he has subpoenaed the FBI to
produce documents to his committee related to the Trump-Russia investigation.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said Monday that he has
subpoenaed the FBI to produce documents to his committee related to the
The Wisconsin senator also defended a separate investigation he is leading
into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Ukraine, even as Democrats
say the probe has the effect of amplifying Russian propaganda and as U.S.
intelligence officials say they have assessed that Russia is working to
denigrate Biden ahead of the November election.
Johnson's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is one of
multiple Republican-led Senate panels scrutinizing the FBI's investigation into
ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Another, the Judiciary Committee,
has released a series of documents in recent weeks aimed at discrediting the
probe, including material on Sunday that the chairman, Sen. Lindsey Graham,
said raised questions about whether the FBI had misled Congress about the
accuracy of information it received during the investigation.
The subpoena demands that the FBI produce by Aug. 20 the records that it
gave to the Justice Department inspector general's office, which concluded in a
report last December that the Russia investigation had been opened for a valid
reason but that the FBI had made significant errors during its surveillance of
a former Trump campaign adviser.
The FBI said in a statement that it had received the subpoena and that the
bureau had already been producing documents and information for Johnson's
committee. "As always, the FBI will continue to cooperate with the Committee's
requests, consistent with our law enforcement and national security
obligations," the statement said.
In a separate statement on Sunday, the FBI said that it was continuing to
cooperate with the Judiciary Committee's investigation.
Johnson publicized the subpoena along with a more than 5,000-word open
letter in which he sought to explain the basis for his scrutiny of the Russia
investigation and to defend his Biden probe against allegations that he was
amplifying Russian disinformation.
"I felt it was important to provide this explanation of my investigations
because of the concerted and coordinated attacks on my efforts that I have
interpreted as a 'brush back pitch' to deter my actions and preemptively
marginalize my committee's findings," Johnson wrote in an email.
He said he was concerned that the media was preparing to taint his
committee's findings as an extension of Russian propaganda. Democrats in recent
weeks have expressed alarm about the probe, and a statement Friday by William
Evanina, the government's chief counterintelligence official, called out by
name a pro-Russia Ukrainian lawmaker who has spread leaked recordings about
Biden meant to be pejorative.
Johnson denied Monday ever receiving information from that lawmaker, Andrii
Derkach, or being part of a Russian disinformation effort.
"As always, almost all of the documents we are seeking and will make public
are from U.S. sources," Johnson wrote in the letter.
The Biden-Ukraine issue is a politically freighted one, particularly after
President Donald Trump urged his Ukraine counterpart in a July 2019 phone call
to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who was a paid board member of a
Ukraine gas company called Burisma Holdings. That phone call formed the basis
of Trump's impeachment by the House in December. He was acquitted by the Senate
Hunter Biden has denied using his influence with his father to aid Burisma,
and Biden has denied speaking with his son about his overseas business dealings.
Trump and his allies, including Johnson, have raised questions about Biden's
move as vice president in 2016 to pressure the Ukrainian government to fire its
top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who had previously led an investigation into
Biden was representing the official position of the U.S. government, a
position that was also supported by other Western governments.