WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today announced that the committee will hold a business meeting on June 4 to consider a motion to authorize him to issue subpoenas relating to the committee’s ongoing oversight of presidential transitions, the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and the Obama administration’s “unmasking” of individuals from the Trump campaign and transition team.
An outgoing presidential administration wields a great deal of power during the transition process, which begins before an election and has effects beyond inauguration day. The laws Congress has passed to address the transition process, which fall squarely within the committee’s jurisdiction, are meant to ensure peaceful transitions of power that minimize gaps in national security and help ensure the new administration is set up for success. If existing laws were abused or the President-elect’s trust in the process were exploited, the committee should determine how to amend the laws to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“We are going to vote on this authorization with the hope that subpoenas won’t be necessary,” Johnson said. “In some cases, we are already working with the agencies and individuals identified to obtain the information we need to do our work, and inclusion on the list should in no way be interpreted to suggest they have been noncompliant. I am asking for this authority to ensure the committee has the ability to quickly and efficiently seek compulsory process should it become necessary. We have a great tradition in this country of peaceful and cooperative transitions of power, and the American people deserve to know if any wrongdoing occurred to corrupt the process and sabotage the new administration.”
Continuing its work over the last several years, the committee is investigating:
- Potential abuse of law enforcement and surveillance laws, including unmasking, the use of defensive briefings, and leaks to the media of classified information to help further Crossfire Hurricane.
- Potential abuse by State Department political officials of official time and/or official resources to collect and disseminate false information from Christopher Steele.
- Potential abuse of the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 and civil service laws, including successful efforts by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gain access to the Trump transition team’s records without their permission.
A list of U.S. government agencies and individuals included in the motion to authorize subpoenas can be found here.