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 GrassleyFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw MORE (R-Iowa) wants to subpoena former FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyWhy must everything Rosenstein be filled with drama?   Dems fight to protect Mueller amid Rosenstein rumors Trump to meet with Rosenstein on Thursday 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 Clinton2016 pollsters erred by not weighing education on state level, says political analyst Could President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Dem group targets Trump in M voter registration campaign: report 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 FeinsteinHere's what the judiciary committee should ask Christine Blasey Ford Kavanaugh to address sexual misconduct allegations on Fox News Monday Kavanaugh accuser Ford to Grassley: 'My fear will not hold me back from testifying' 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 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 TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE to oust Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein faces Trump showdown Solicitor general could take over Mueller probe if Rosenstein exits 13 states accepted Sessions invitation to meeting on social media bias: report MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Rosenstein faces Trump showdown Solicitor general could take over Mueller probe if Rosenstein exits 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 PruittTrump admin appeals ruling ordering EPA to ban pesticide Government watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels 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