Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) has issued the first subpoena of his Senate probe into the origins of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, a key aspect of the Obamagate scandal. He demanded documents from FBI Director Christopher Wray in a Thursday subpoena.
“Pursuant to lawful authority, YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to appear before the COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS of the Senate of the United States, on August 20, 2020, at 5:00 o’clock p.m. … to produce all records related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” the subpoena, published by Politico, demands.
“Crossfire Hurricane” refers to the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign on the false premise that Trump or his associates were working with Russia to undermine the 2016 election. Mueller expanded that investigation in May 2017.
Johnson explained his basis for the subpoenas in a letter Monday. His investigation into Crossfire Hurricane, the unmasking of U.S. persons affiliated with the Trump campaign, and allegations of political corruption in the Intelligence Community began on June 4. “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.
“The FBI has already been producing documents and information to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which are directly responsive to this subpoena,” the FBI said in a statement. “As always, the FBI will continue to cooperate with the Committee’s requests, consistent with our law enforcement and national security obligations.”
While Wray is a Trump appointee, Johnson demanded FBI documents tracing back to Wray’s successor, James Comey.
The senator also accused Democrats of launching “a coordinated disinformation campaign and effort to personally attack Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and me for the purpose of marginalizing the findings of our investigations.”
Indeed, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) took to The Washington Post to claim that Johnson’s investigation risked turning Congress into “a forum for debunked conspiracy theories peddle by Kremlin proxies.” He cited a Post story reporting that a Ukrainian parliamentarian whose father worked in Russian intelligence claimed he had sent materials to Johnson’s committee.
Johnson pushed back on this narrative. “It is neither me, Chairman Grassley, nor our committees that are being used to disseminate Russian disinformation. Instead, it is Democrats and the media that have been doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s work for him,” he insisted. “Puppet masters in the Kremlin could not be more pleased by the political division and discord that has been driven by the resistance movement against President Trump.”
“Let me be very clear on another point. I have no doubt Russia is continuing its efforts to sow discord and destabilize countries and political systems throughout the world, including here in the U.S.,” Johnson explained. “This is how the former Soviet Union behaved, and it should surprise no one that the Russian Federation under the leadership of Putin would engage in the exact same type of behavior. What is surprising is that anyone would view this as some breakthrough revelation.”
Furthermore, Johnson denied any claims that the committee had accepted Ukrainian documents.
“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,” he wrote.
His investigation focuses on two primary areas: “first, allegations of conflicts of interest within the Obama administration related to Ukraine policy and, second, allegations of corruption within the Obama administration affecting the 2016 election, the transition between administrations, and Obama administration holdovers’ sabotage of the Trump administration.”
The evolving scandal of the Obama administration’s efforts to undermine the Trump campaign — a scandal with the potential to become as explosive as Watergate — is a serious matter, and Democrat efforts to undermine it are a telling red flag.
Recent developments on the unraveling Obamagate scandal confirm many conservatives’ fears that the Obama administration targeted the Trump campaign on the trumped-up charge that the campaign was working with Russia, even though FBI officials knew the sources behind the Trump dossier were suspect and unreliable.
The apparent perjury trap set for Michael Flynn revealed the ugly depths to which the Intelligence Community would sink to maintain the collusion narrative. The transcripts of House Intelligence Committee testimony revealed that most of the intelligence actors in the investigation did not have any evidence to suspect collusion. The mostly-unredacted scope memo laying out the reasoning behind appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller has laid bare the utter baselessness of the case against Trump.
Recently-revealed documents showed that the FBI had serious concerns regarding the Steele dossier and the way Steele misrepresented his source, Igor Danchenko. The FBI did not raise any of those concerns in the eight-page briefing document it sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee in February 2018. “Somebody needs to go to jail for this,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday.
Worse, the entire scandal appears to trace right back to the top: to both Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway reported that a meeting involving both Obama and Biden at the White House on January 5, 2017, was essential to the investigation that continued into Trump’s presidency.
Obamagate is a scandal of epic proportions, and Johnson is getting to the bottom of it. U.S. Attorney John Durham is also investigating the case, and his report is expected before the November election.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.