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 GrassleyScandal in Puerto Rico threatens chance at statehood Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Democrat: Treasury 'acknowledged the unprecedented process' in Trump tax return rejection MORE (R-Iowa) wants to subpoena former FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyFBI's spreadsheet puts a stake through the heart of Steele's dossier Hannity invites Ocasio-Cortez to join prime-time show for full hour The Hill's 12:30 Report: Acosta under fire over Epstein plea deal 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 ClintonPoll: Majority of Democratic voters happy with their choices among 2020 contenders No presidential candidate can unite the country GOP lawmakers speak out against 'send her back' chants 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 FeinsteinTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei 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 MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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 TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE to oust Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHouse gears up for Mueller testimony Trump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates 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: EPA halts surprise inspections of power, chemical plants | Regulators decline to ban pesticide linked to brain damage | NY awards country's largest offshore wind energy contracts EPA allows continued use of pesticide linked with brain damage Overnight Energy: Trump officials gut DC staff for public lands agency to move West | Democrats slam EPA over scientific boards | Deepwater Horizon most litigated environmental issue of decade 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