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Senate Judiciary Democrats Oppose Graham’s Interest in Investigating Obama-Era FBI

New Republican chairman wants to look into the agency

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats are opposed to possible investigations into President Barack Obama’s administration, according to reports on Monday.

Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been leading the committee since the start of the new Congress on January 3. He’s expressed an interest over the past couple months in opening investigations into questionable activities that occurred under the former president.

Senate Judiciary Democrats remain steadfastly opposed to this.

“This is going to be like the History Channel, it turns out,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told The Hill.

“Instead of taking a look at the current issues, Lindsey Graham wants to go back and answer important questions about the Bermuda Triangle and Hillary Clinton,” he also said.

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Durbin did add that he was concerned about the inquiries. Graham is interested in looking into the FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct business.

He also could launch an investigation into the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications targeting President Donald Trump’s former campaign aide Carter Page.

Graham told reporters on January 9 he would look into the FISA issue as committee chairman. He also told Fox News last month he believed the FBI didn’t take the Clinton investigations seriously and was in the tank for her.

Last year, he also said he was interested in looking into the still-ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian election interference.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told The Hill that Graham should “investigate Benghazi some more, too” — an apparent reference to an investigation launched by House Republicans that Democrats have criticized as a political stunt.

Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) said it depends on how the issues are approached, but warned Graham to be careful.

“It is possible for the Judiciary Committee to remain a highly functional committee even while tackling controversial topics,” Coons told The Hill. “I think that would be a more constructive way to start. I’ll simply put it that way.”

Graham has become an unlikely but close ally of the president’s after the contentious election of 2016. Early on that year, Trump called the senator a disgrace and one of the “dumbest” human beings.

Graham called the president “crazy” and unfit for office in that same month, in February 2016.

Related: DOJ Sued for Allegedly Ignoring FOIA Request About Mueller’s Security Costs

But two years into the Trump presidency, Graham has become a key player in moving the commander-in-chief’s agenda forward, especially when it comes to judicial nominees such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Graham’s actions during the last session of Congress earned him priase among conservatives and the president.

Trump has been at the center of a federal investigation throughout most of his time in office. The special counsel probe has been looking into potential election meddling, but it, too, has faced scrutiny over allegations of bias. Robert Mueller, former head of the FBI, has been leading the special counsel investigation since May 2017. His team is looking into whether the president or associates colluded with Russian interests to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Graham has also worked across the aisle in his new position as chairman. He helped draft legislation that would protect the special counsel from being fired by the president. He’s also worked on immigration reform.

But Democrats are also pushing him to go after the president and his associates for alleged crimes.

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Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].