Schumer calls on GOP to cancel ‘conspiracy’ hearings on origins of Trump-Russia probe
Chuck Ross on May 30, 2020
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel a hearing next week for Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general who launched the special counsel’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Schumer’s request is a far cry from earlier in the Trump administration, when he called for public hearings for Trump associates regarding possible links to the Russian government.
Schumer accused Republicans of holding the Rosenstein hearing to “chase wild conspiracy theories” in order to help President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
“With our country in crisis, Senate Republicans have become a conspiracy caucus,” Schumer wrote in a letter to his fellow Democrats on Friday. “Leader McConnell should instruct these committees to cancel these conspiracy hearings.”
Like many congressional Democrats, Schumer advanced the now-debunked conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.
“On guns and on Russian collusion investigation, the silence of my Republican Senate colleagues is deafening,” he tweeted on Feb. 18, 2018.
Since then, the special counsel released a report that found no evidence that any Trump associates conspired with Russia to influence the election.
Rosenstein will testify on June 3 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Lindsey Graham scheduled a vote for June 4 to subpoena 53 current and former government officials, and several private individuals who handled the Steele dossier.
Graham and two other Senate Republicans, Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, have ramped up their efforts to investigate the origins of the FBI probe of the Trump campaign.
The Republicans are focusing on the FBI investigation of Trump campaign associates, the FBI’s abuse of the surveillance process during the investigation and other government agencies’ intelligence-gathering activities related to the Russia probe.
The senators are largely building on the findings of Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general. Horowitz released a report on Dec. 9, 2019, that said the FBI made 17 “significant” errors and omissions in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders against Carter Page.
Rosenstein signed one of the four surveillance orders against Carter Page, the former Trump campaign aide.
The Justice Department invalidated that spy warrant after an inspector general’s report found that the FBI made more than a dozen “significant” errors and omissions in the application. The FBI withheld exculpatory information regarding Page, and other information that undercut the credibility of the infamous Steele dossier.
The FBI relied heavily on the dossier to assert that Page was a Russian agent.
Graham said Thursday that he plans to ask Rosenstein if he would have signed the final FISA warrant against Page had he known about the errors uncovered in the IG report.
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