Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee said on Wednesday it was time to issue subpoenas to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department, following the release of texts from FBI officials that suggested they wanted to stop Trump’s election.
“It’s time for subpoenas from our committee, not just from the intelligence committee, but from our committee. Subpoenas for documents that we rightfully should have an ability to see,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a senior member of the committee.
He also said he wanted to subpoena Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, FBI senior official Peter Strzok, and senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie Ohr.
“We think all those individuals should be brought in for depositions and be under oath in front the committee at some point in the very near future,” Jordan said during a joint phone press conference with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
It was revealed just last week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok from his team in July after Justice Department inspector general investigators discovered he had sent anti-Trump text messages to another FBI official, Lisa Page, with whom he was also having an extramarital affair.
One of those texts, revealed to media outlets on Tuesday, suggested there was a plan discussed to thwart Trump’s election.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok wrote to Page on August 15, 2016, about the time the FBI launched the Russia investigation. “Andy” is believed to be McCabe.
“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Strzok added.
Strzok also ran the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, launched the FBI’s initial Russia investigation, interviewed Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, interviewed Clinton, changed language in an FBI statement that exonerated Clinton, interviewed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and was the deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI.
“That same guy is now saying, ‘We need to take some action because we can’t risk Donald Trump as the next president. So this, to me, shows intent to take action to do more than just correspond back and forth with some colleague about how you don’t like Donald Trump,” Jordan said.
Ohr, as was also revealed recently, met with author of the Trump dossier, ex-British spy Christopher Steele, during the election, and with the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm that the Clinton campaign paid to create the dossier, shortly after the election.
Last week, Ohr was demoted from one of his positions at the DOJ as associate deputy general, after word of the meetings with Fusion GPS leaked to the media. It was also revealed shortly after that Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS during the election.
“These are top people,” Jordan said. “And this [text] from Strzok is in reference to a meeting he’s having in Andy McCabe’s office and Lisa Page, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok are there. Who knows who else is in that room? Is Comey in that room? Who else is in the room when they’re having this discussion?”
Subpoenas by the Judiciary Committee — on top of those issued by the House intelligence committee, which is conducting its own Russia probe, would add more pressure to the FBI and the DOJ to provide requested information to Congress.
The House intelligence committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), issued subpoenas to the FBI and DOJ in August, but has been stonewalled on a large part of those requests. It was not until House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) last month called on them to comply that some information was shaken loose.
Jordan said he and other members discussed issuing subpoenas with the committee chairman earlier that day.
He said he had two fundamental questions he wanted answered: Did the FBI pay Steele; and did it use what he wrote to get surveillance warrants on Trump campaign members?
“If the answer to those questions is ‘no,’ just tell us,” Jordan said. “But if the answer is yes, then it confirms everything we suspect, and each day we get new evidence that reinforces the idea that the answer to those two questions is yes.”
Jordan pointed out that the same time Strzok texted Page about the “insurance policy” to stop Trump was the same time the Russia investigation was launched.
“Think about when he said that — he said that in August,” Jordan said. “The same time they launched the Russia investigation, and my guess is about the same time they’re taking stuff to the FISA court. So think about that.”
Jordan said he believes Strzok is the “guy who bootstrapped up the dossier” and “dressed it all up and made it look like it was real intel” and took it to a secret FISA court to get surveillance warrants on the Trump campaign.
“If the American people find out that their taxpayer money was used to go and create a dossier to discredit the president, there are going to be very serious consequences for the FBI and the Department of Justice,” said Gaetz.
“It’s real easy to clear that all up, tell us ‘no,’” Jordan said. “But If the answer is yes, then you have the FBI working to help one campaign and against the other campaign, and that just never is supposed to happen in this country.”
“But everything is pointing in that direction,” he said.