Grassley wants to subpoena Comey, Lynch after critical IG report

Grassley wants to subpoena Comey, Lynch after critical IG report
© Greg Nash

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost The 7 most interesting nuggets from the Mueller report Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal impact on economy MORE (R-Iowa) wants to subpoena former FBI director James ComeyJames Brien Comey'Morning Joe' hosts suggest media should boycott White House aides 'who repeatedly lie' 10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era Trump takes aim at Dem talk of impeachment MORE and Loretta Lynch, who served as attorney general in the Obama administration.

Grassley would like to question the pair about a critical report released last week by the Department of Justice's (DOJ) inspector general that scrutinized the FBI's handling of the investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIt is wrong to say 'no collusion' 10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era And the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin MORE's use of a private email server while secretary of State.

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At a Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this week, Grassley criticized Comey and Lynch for not appearing before his panel. Grassley said Comey's attorney told him that the former FBI chief was out of the country "although I saw he was in Iowa over the weekend. According to his Twitter feed, he seems to be having a wonderful time."

During an interview for C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" show set to be aired Friday, Grassley said, "I want to subpoena [Comey and Lynch]."

Grassley noted that under the rules of the Judiciary Committee, the chairman and the ranking member – Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions Five takeaways from Mueller's report Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.) – must both agree on the use of subpoenas.

Pressed on the timing of the possible subpoenas, Grassley laughed and said, "If Sen. Feinstein told me yesterday that she would do it, we'll do it."

The DOJ inspector general report was critical of both Lynch and Comey's handling of the FBI investigation into Clinton's emails, finding that agency protocol was broken. 

• Special counsel probe on Russia. Asked whether it's time for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE to wrap up his investigation, Grassley said the probe findings shouldn't be released soon before the election: "I think Mueller would be the type of person professionally either gets this done by Labor Day or else it'll come in November or December or January. I don't think he should do it -- for sure don't do it the month of October."

• Top DOJ officials. While some Republicans are clamoring for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE to oust Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAnd the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin The Memo: Mueller's depictions will fuel Trump angst Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinEx-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' Mueller questioned by TV journalist over details of report Cummings: Barr acting like 'defense counsel' for Trump rather than AG MORE, Grassley said he has confidence in both DOJ officials as well as Mueller. 

• Trade. Grassley acknowledged GOP frustration with Trump on his trade policies, saying he understands the president is trying to get better agreements with other countries. The Iowa senator, who said he talks to Trump about twice a month, said "it's a big gamble" that could net big wins for the country or "go over the brink" and be "catastrophic."

• Prison reform. There is pressure on the Senate to pass a prison reform bill, but Senate Republicans are split on whether to pass the House-passed bill or vote on a more comprehensive measure that includes sentencing reform. Grassley favors the latter and indicated there hasn't been much progress made on a compromise, though expressed optimism legislation could pass this year. 

• EPA chief's future. Grassley stopped short of saying embattled EPA chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Flint residents can sue EPA over water crisis | Environmentalists see victory with Green New Deal blitz | March global temperatures were second hottest on record | EPA told to make final decision on controversial pesticide Court orders EPA to make final decision on banning controversial pesticide Former EPA chief Scott Pruitt registers as lobbyist in Indiana MORE should resign in the wake of various ethics controversies. The allegations "don't sound very good" and "are disturbing," Grassley said, adding he wants to wait until all of the investigations on Pruitt are completed before making an assessment.

• Supreme Court resignation? Grassley said he has heard "the usual rumors" about a possible retirement on the high court. "I have not had any confirmation -- I've tried to get some type of confirmation -- and I can't get it," the 84-year-old senator said with a chuckle. Any Supreme Court nomination would be tackled by Grassley's panel. 

The interview will air on C-SPAN at 10 p.m. ET on Friday and at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday