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Senate panel to vote next week on authorizing subpoenas for Biden, Obama-era probes

Senate panel to vote next week on authorizing subpoenas for Biden, Obama-era probes
© Greg Nash

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGrassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection MORE (R-Wis.) will hold a vote next week on authorizing additional subpoenas for his probes into the Obama administration and the Bidens. 

The votes, according to a copy of the schedule obtained by The Hill, will authorize Johnson to subpoena several officials including former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeCarter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe McCabe defends investigation of Trump before Senate committee: We had 'many reasons' The Hill's 12:30 Report: What to know about the Pfizer vaccine announcement MORE and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr as part of a broad investigation into the transition period between the Obama and Trump administrations, "unmasking" and the FBI's investigation into Russia's 2016 election meddling. 

Johnson would also get authorization to issue subpoenas related to Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. The gas company is tied up in Johnson's investigation into the Obama-era State Department and Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Senate approves two energy regulators, completing panel Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race MORE

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Johnson would get authorization to issue subpoenas "for the attendance and testimony at a deposition with regard to Burisma Holdings and actual or apparent conflicts of interest with U.S.-Ukraine policy," according to a copy of the committee notice obtained by The Hill. 

The committee will also vote on formally greenlighting depositions for several officials Johnson already got the authority to subpoena in June including Jonathan Winer, a former Obama-era State Department official with ties to the controversial opposition research dossier into then-candidate Trump.  

The formal vote to notice the depositions comes after Johnson's plan to depose Winer over the August recess ran into a snag when Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersRepublican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE (Mich.), the top Democrat on the committee, said noticing the deposition without sign-off from him or a committee vote broke the panel's rules. 

Johnson will need all of the Republicans on the committee in order to overcome what is expected to be blanket opposition to the deposition authorizations and the additional subpoenas. Democrats have raised concerns for months that Johnson's investigation is politically motivated and risks spreading Russian disinformation. Johnson has, in turn, accused Democrats of spreading misinformation. 

Republicans on the panel previously handed Johnson broad authorization in June to subpoena more than 30 individuals, as well as to subpoena a U.S. firm with ties to Burisma Holdings. But some on the committee raised concerns at the time about pursuing the investigation amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (R-Utah) specifically warned at the time that he thought the investigation looked politically motivated, with a GOP chairman running an investigation that involves the Bidens in the lead-up to the November election. 

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Johnson previously subpoenaed the FBI for documents, and has been holding closed-door depositions with former Obama administration and current Trump officials. 

He previously told The Hill that he wanted to release an interim report on the Biden-Ukraine investigation by mid-September. But he indicated this week that the timeline had slipped slightly, and that the interim report would now likely be released in late September.  

"We've been doing quite a few interviews. I think the last interview on this aspect of the investigation I think is scheduled for Sept. 17," he said. "They're already writing the report."