BREAKING: HSGAC votes to give Sen. Ron Johnson authority to subpoena Obama officials

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has voted 8-6 along party lines to approve Johnson’s subpoena authorization, per Alex Rogers of CNN.

Romney voted yes and said he would not “stand in the way,” but he added that he continued “to be concerned that this is politically motivated.”

TheHill reports the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted on Thursday to grant Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) broad subpoena authority as part of a probe stemming from the Obama administration.

In a party-line vote, Republicans on the panel gave Johnson the power to issue subpoenas for more than 35 individuals and a swath of documents, which will allow him to skip having to come back to the committee for a vote on each individual subpoena.

Johnson is conducting a wide-ranging investigation that includes reviewing “Crossfire Hurricane,” the name for the FBI’s investigation into election interference and the Trump campaign, the probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and leaks stemming from the early days of the Trump administration.

Johnson defended the investigation on Thursday, saying that “evidence is mounting” that there was not a “peaceful and cooperative” transition between the Obama and Trump administrations.

“The conduct we know that occurred during the transition should concern everyone and absolutely warrants further investigation. .. The subpoena authority I am requesting today will help us gather the necessary information. Hopefully, the agencies and individuals will fully cooperate, and the number of subpoenas required will be limited,” he added.

The subpoena authorization vote allows Johnson to subpoena former FBI Director James Comey, former national security advisor Susan Rice and former CIA Director John Brennan, among others.

Johnson also got the authority to issue subpoenas for FBI records relating to Crossfire Hurricane and the State Department for any records related to Christopher Steele, who compiled a controversial research dossier against then-candidate Trump. The subpoena also covers documents from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence related to attempts to “unmask” individuals tied to the Trump campaign, transition team or White House through January 2017.

The subpoena vote wasn’t without signs of division among Republicans, even though they all voted for the subpoena.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said he was able to get changes to the subpoena to “narrow” the scope of Johnson’s investigation to prevent IG’s or the work products from being subpoenaed. Because he was able to get a deal with Johnson, he said he would vote for the subpoena.
“I believe there are far more urgent priorities the committee should address … I’d also note that this matter has already been investigated by the IG and is now being invested by the Justice Department. …I continue to be concerned that this is politically motivated,” he said.