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Ron Johnson Says GOP Senators on Homeland Security Committee Blocking Subpoenas of Comey, Brennan; Committee Says Comments Were Based on a Misunderstanding

Senator Ron Johnson (R., WI) questions Chad Wolf, acting Secretary of Homeland Security, at a committee hearing in Washington, D.C., August 6, 2020 (Toni Sandys/Reuters)

Update 4:30 p.m.: Senator Johnson’s committee said his comments with Hugh Hewitt earlier on Wednesday were based on a misunderstanding, and that no Republican committee members are currently blocking subpoenas.

“Chairman Johnson is committed to running a thorough investigation into abuses by the Obama administration toward the Trump campaign,” a spokesman for Johnson said in a statement. “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.”

Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wisc.) said on Wednesday that his Republican colleagues on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which he chairs, were blocking subpoenas of former officials involved in the Russia investigation.

The 15-member committee has seven Democratic senators, meaning Johnson cannot issue subpoenas without the full support of its Republican members. Johnson has expressed a desire to subpoena former FBI director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan, and others in connection with the Russia investigation. The Homeland Security Committee has already authorized Johnson to subpoena those individuals.

However, the Wisconsin senator indicated that not all committee Republicans were on board with the subpoeneas, in comments on The Hugh Hewitt Show.

“Which Republican doesn’t want to get to the bottom of this?” Hewitt asked.

“We had a number of committee members that were highly concerned about how this looks politically,” Johnson responded. When pressed further by Hewitt, Johnson said “I’m just not going to be naming names that way.”

Hewitt repeatedly expressed frustration with the pace of the investigation and told Johnson, “If there’s a senator who is blocking a subpoena, we need to know who that is so we throw them out.”

Johnson maintained that he and his staff are working “full time” on probing the Russia investigation, and cautioned that the committee requires more documentation to be able to question witnesses effectively.

The probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, in which FBI agents investigated the Trump campaign for alleged connections to Russian intelligence operatives, is also being carried out by the Senate Judiciary Committee. On Sunday, committee chairman Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) released an FBI memo which he claimed amounted to evidence that the agency misled Congress regarding the veracity of the intelligence alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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