Senate committee authorizes subpoenas in Russia probe targeting Obama officials

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has voted in favor of authorizing over three dozen subpoenas and interviews as part of its probe into the origins of the Russia collusion investigation.

Depositions will be requested of names like former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The committee, led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), will also subpoena dozens of other Obama administration officials. Approximately 40 people are expected to be questioned.

The GOP-led panel voted 8-6, along party lines, on Wednesday to move forward with the subpoenas.

Originally, a vote was also planned to authorize a subpoena to Bridget Brink, US ambassador to Slovakia, as part of a separate probe being conducted by the committee on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s dealings in Ukraine during his time as vice president.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who serves on the committee, has repeatedly voiced concerns about the Biden probe, slamming it as politically motivated.

On Wednesday, he did so again, making it clear during the hearing that he would have opposed Johnson’s effort to subpoena Brink.

“It’s not the legitimate role of government, for Congress or for taxpayer expense, to be used in an effort to damage political opponents,” he argued.

“I do believe it’s very important that the committees of Congress, and ours in particular, not fall into an increasing pattern that we’re seeing, which is using taxpayer dollars and the power of Congress to do political work. That’s the role of campaigns,” he added.

Though Johnson did not say why he pulled the measure, Romney voting against the subpoenas would have cost him the vote. The Utah Republican has not expressed the same type of objection to the committee’s probe of the Russia investigation.

In August, the committee subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray to turn over all records relating to the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation, as well as all documents given to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

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