On Wednesday, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chair Ron Johnson said that Republicans on his committee were not allowing him to move forward with subpoenaing fired FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan for their potential criminal activity in the Russia probe.
“We had a number of my committee members that were highly concerned about how this looks politically,” Johnson said during a radio interview with radio show host Hugh Hewitt.
“First of all, I need approval of my committee members, and it was tough enough getting the subpoenas on Blue Star Strategies and then the other subpoena authority I’ve got,” Johnson said.
The Hill reports:
Hewitt then pressed Johnson several times to tell him which GOP senator was “blocking” a subpoena of Comey. Hewitt later acknowledged on Twitter that he was not aware Johnson already had sole authority to subpoena the former FBI director, meaning no GOP senator is blocking it, and accused the GOP chairman of “throwing colleagues under the bus.”
“I had a devil of a time just getting the subpoena authority that I got,” Johnson said during the interview.
Hewitt went on to ask Johnson who the “screw-up” was on committee.
“We had a number of my committee members that were highly concerned about how this looks politically,” Johnson responded.
Hewitt lost his patience when he realized Johnson was not going to name names.
“Are you aware that in the eyes of someone like me … you’re failing? Do you understand that the committee and Sen. Graham’s committee on this issue are failing the American people? We don’t have the answers,” Hewitt said.
“I’m shaking my head. I don’t think, senator, you understand the depth to which people like me … are absolutely disappointed in our senators, absolutely disappointed,” Hewitt added. “They play hardball in the House. You guys play soft, underhand in the Senate.”
Later on in the day, Johnson’s office spoke out about the campaign and dismissed it as a “misunderstanding.”
“Chairman Johnson is committed to running a thorough investigation into abuses by the Obama administration toward the Trump campaign. Committee members want Chairman Johnson to attempt to get voluntary compliance, and also to be fully prepared for interviews by obtaining necessary documents, before compelling testimony,” a spokesperson said.
“Chairman Johnson has been working for months to gather documents and information from witnesses on a voluntary basis, but will subpoena witnesses when necessary – and as he has mentioned, his patience is wearing thin,” they added.
Hewitt later took to Twitter to blast the statement, saying that it was not a simple misunderstanding.
“This was not a ‘misunderstanding’ but a transparent effort to blame his colleagues. It would be a service to them to explain to audience what the real story is,” he said.
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