South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican who’s been a thorn in President Donald Trump’s side since Inauguration Day, lent his considerable Senate clout to an investigation into Trump’s claims that Obama administration wiretapped Trump offices in the run-up to November’s election.
“The president has asked Congress to look into whether or not his campaign was wiretapped by the Obama administration,” Graham told a CNN correspondent Wednesday, alluding to Trump’s post on Twitter that his predecessor had wiretapped the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. “I’ll take up that challenge.”
We know the Obama administration obtained authority from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year to wiretap several Russian diplomats. During the course of these investigations, however, the administration wound up eavesdropping on the conversations of several notable Trump associates.
In attempting to account for this, former Obama administration officials have claimed that the targeted Russian diplomats had been communicating with Trump’s staff, which was why they wound up being recorded as well. Trump has expressed his doubts about this claim and demanded an investigation.
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) March 9, 2017
“The whole purpose of this is to find out if a warrant was issued directed at the Trump campaign,” Graham explained.
Graham, chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, also said Wednesday that he’d sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey and acting Deputy Attorney General Dana J. Boente requesting that any documents related to wiretaps of the president be handed over immediately.
The letter was co-signed by Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, the ranking minority member on the subcommittee.
“We request that the Department of Justice provide us copies of any warrant applications and court orders — redacted as necessary to protect intelligence sources and methods that may be compromised by disclosure, and to protect any ongoing investigations — related to wiretaps of President Trump, the Trump Campaign, or Trump Tower,” the letter read.
Speaking with CNN, Graham noted that he was ready and willing to subpoena both agencies were they to ignore his request. From his perch on the crime and terrorism subcommittee, he’s not likely to be ignored.
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