Graham starts closed-door depositions in FISA probe

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump official releases unverified Russian intel on Clinton previously rejected by Senate panel Barrett says Trump offered her Supreme Court nomination three days after Ginsburg death Supreme Court nominee gives no clues in GOP meeting MORE (R-S.C.) said on Tuesday that he has started closed-door interviews as part of his deep dive into the surveillance courts and the FBI’s Russia probe.

Graham confirmed to reporters that he has started the depositions, then escaped into a Senate elevator. 

Graham is using his gavel to probe the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) surveillance warrants involving Trump campaign associate Carter Page and the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Russia's election meddling and the Trump campaign. 

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He’s requested testimony from more than 20 current Justice Department and FBI officials.

He also wants to call former officials including former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump official releases unverified Russian intel on Clinton previously rejected by Senate panel The FBI and special counsel's horrible, terrible, miserable week Americans are tired of Democrats' politicized investigations against Trump MORE, former Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinMueller in rare statement pushes back on top aide's criticism of investigation This week: Senate kicks off Supreme Court fight DOJ kept investigators from completing probe of Trump ties to Russia: report MORE and former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesThis week: Senate kicks off Supreme Court fight Cindy McCain joins board of Biden's presidential transition team Buttigieg, former officials added to Biden's transition team MORE before his committee.

The deep dive comes amid growing concerns about the potential for abuse of the FISC after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the Page warrant application. 

Some of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE’s biggest allies want to use a debate over soon-to-expire provisions of the USA Freedom Act to make broader changes to the surveillance court.

Trump is convening a meeting on Tuesday afternoon with lawmakers on both sides of the debate to try to break the stalemate.

Congress has until March 15 to extend three provisions of the USA Freedom Act.