WASHINGTON — Two Republican-led Senate committees have launched election-year investigations into the Justice Department’s Russia probe, resurrecting the issue at the urging of President Donald Trump while reigniting the partisan hostility that comes along with it.
In two committee rooms Thursday, tensions boiled as lawmakers considered a raft of subpoenas for current and former Justice Department officials. With the country suffering through civil unrest over police brutality, mass unemployment and the coronavirus pandemic, Democrats and even some Republicans questioned whether looking back at the Russia investigations — now dating back more than three years — should be a top priority.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was defiant, angrily stating that there are people “who are real good candidates for going to jail” in the Justice Department. Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse countered that he was concerned that the panel was turning into “political errand boys” for Trump’s reelection.
As the senators bickered, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., burst out that “it’s bullshit the way people grandstand for cameras in here” and “some of us have other work to do.”