Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted on Wednesday to greenlight subpoenas and depositions as part of an investigation into the FBI’s Russia probe and the Obama administration.
The 8-6 party line vote authorizes Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the committee, to issue a combination of subpoenas and set up closed-door depositions with approximately 40 individuals.
The votes come less than two months before the November election, injecting fresh acrimony into the Wednesday committee meeting where Johnson accused Democrats of a “coordinated spear” against his probes. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the panel, accused Republicans of a “partisan fishing expedition.”
“I’m disappointed that our committee is once again meeting to discuss the authorization of subpoenas instead … of the serious challenges facing Americans,” Peters said. “Your own public comments … state that your desire to reinvestigate these matters demonstrates the alarming partisan nature of this investigation which is designed to influence the presidential election.”
The votes give Johnson the power to set up depositions with dozens of officials he previously got authorization to subpoena in June.
But those subpoenas ran into a snag in August, when Peters accused Johnson of violating the committee’s rules by trying to set up the interview without support from Peters or a majority of the committee to formally issue the deposition notice.
Johnson blasted Peters on Wednesday accusing him of forcing the votes to authorize the depositions “based on an absurd interpretation of committee rules.”
But Wednesday’s vote also authorizes subpoenas of new individuals including former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.