“Sen. Lindsey Graham lashes into Dems: ‘You think I’m in Trump’s pocket’”
June 4, 2020 | 4:57pm
Lawmakers on the powerful GOP-led committee traded barbs on Thursday over the North Carolina Republican’s move to subpoena 53 current and former government officials involved in the error-riddled Russia probe and Mueller investigation, including ex-FBI director James Comey.
Democrats on the panel accused Republicans of being “political errand boys” who were “bolstering conspiracy theories” for Trump’s re-election campaign — allegations that Graham was not going to take lying down.
“It matters to me whether or not the No. 2 guy at the FBI, Comey, knew that the document was no longer reliable and kept using it,” Graham said of a warrant which FBI agents deliberately misrepresented in order to spy on a Trump 2016 campaign aide.
“You all could care less. That really says a lot,” Graham added.
“I know you don’t agree with what I’m doing. You think I’m in Trump’s pocket. I get all that. It’s not lost on me of what you think and I’m sad because I like you all,” he continued.
“But if you expect me to punt, forget it. We’re not going to punt. We’re not going to have a rule of law for Republicans and a rule of law for Democrats.
The hearings, which began Wednesday with testimony from former attorney general Rod Rosenstein, follow an excoriating review by the Justice Department’s chief watchdog last December that found the Mueller investigation was littered with errors.
Graham and committee Republicans want to haul dozens of officials before Congress to testify, including former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and national security advisor Sally Yates, former National Intelligence director James Clapper, current FBI chief Christopher Wray and Attorney General Bill Barr, John Podesta, the chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s national security advisor and FBI lovebirds Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.
But the decision to also subpoena Steve Richetti, former chief of staff to Joe Biden and the chair of his presidential election campaign, rankled Democrats who accused the Republican-led committee of doing the president’s bidding.
“How do we happen to have the campaign manager for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign on that list?” asked Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
“I’m afraid it’s very obvious. This is about a president who just can’t get over it and maybe he never will, and a chairman who wants him to have another day to make his point about how he was mistreated,” Durbin said.
President Trump has repeatedly maintained that the investigation into whether his campaign colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 presidential election was a politically-motivated “witch hunt.”
Democrats on the committee are seeking an amendment that would allow them to haul their own witnesses before Congress, including Trump’s convicted former personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Both sides however agreed they want to hear from someone representing former special counsel Robert Mueller.