Senate Republicans will investigate the Obama administration’s decision to target national security adviser Michael Flynn following the 2016 presidential election, but they do not intend to subpoena former President Barack Obama or require him to testify in front of a panel, Politico reports.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told media Tuesday that his committee is prepared to investigate former Obama administration officials, particularly officials affiliated with the Department of Justice, and the FBI over their targeting of Flynn in light of Attorney General William Barr’s decision to drop perjury charges against the former national security advisor. Barack Obama will likely be left off the list of those asked to testify.
“I’m not anticipating calling President Obama,” Graham said, adding that it was likely the panel will question FBI Director James Comey and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
President Donald Trump was direct in his criticism of Obama, tweeting Monday that he believed Obama committed the “biggest political crime in American history, by far!” He also cited conservative radio and television host Buck Sexton, who noted that it appears Obama “used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration.”
“Hope you had fun investigating me. Now it’s my turn.” the president warned.
Senate Republicans, however, want to leave investigating Obama up to U.S. Attorney John Durham, who, at the direction of Attorney General Barr, is still investigating the origins of the FBI investigation into “Russian collusion” — an investigation that turned up next to no evidence that the Trump administration in any way coordinated with Russian officials to impact the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
“That’s already being looked at, and we’ve got relevant committees up here that are talking a look at some of those issues too. I always think that at the end, eventually the truth comes out, and I’m sure it will here too,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told Politico.
“[Trump] was accused of being a stooge for Putin and then subject to the appointment of a special counsel,” added Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). “I understand why the president feels like he’s under assault. But I think we need to do our own independent investigation. Obviously, Mr. Durham is doing his. We’ll hear from them. But I think we have an important role to play in terms of congressional oversight.”
Last week’s revelations about Michael Flynn drew a number of Obama administration officials into the spotlight. The plan to target Flynn appears to have included everyone from Comey and Yates, to former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and then-Vice President Joe Biden who, according to Rice’s notes, was present at a meeting where Comey briefed top Obama administration members — and the president — about the ongoing investigation.
Biden, Tuesday, initially denied knowing about the Flynn case but then later admitted he was “aware” of the probe.