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Top GOP senator subpoenas FBI director for docs on origins of Russia probe

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Washington — The Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee issued a subpoena to FBI Director Christopher Wray for records related to the bureau's Russia probe, the first stemming from Senate Republicans' examination into the origins of the FBI's investigation and links between Democrats and Ukraine.

The subpoena from Senator Ron Johnson, obtained by CBS News, is dated August 6 and compels Wray to produce "all records related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation," referring to the FBI's counterintelligence probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and ties between Trump campaign aides and Russia. A subpoena is also being prepared for Jonathan Winer, a former deputy assistant secretary of state, Johnson said.

Among the documents Johnson is seeking from Wray are "all records provided or made available to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice for its review" of the FBI's investigation, as well as "all records related to requests to the General Services Administration (GSA) or Office of the Inspector General of GSA for presidential transition records from November 2016 through December 2017."

Johnson also released a letter Monday defending his decision to move forward with subpoenas as part of the investigation mounted by Senate Republicans, which is examining, among other areas, possible conflicts of interest between the Bidens and Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden. The Wisconsin Republican said he "decided to begin issuing subpoenas primarily because of my strong belief that transparency in government is essential and that the American people have waited too long for the truth."

The subpoena and letter were first reported by Politico.

Johnson accused Democrats of launching a "coordinated disinformation campaign and effort to personally attack Senate Finance committee Chairman Charles Grassley and me for the purpose of marginalizing the findings of our investigation."

"Chairman Grassley and I will not be deterred by the false accusations despicably being made by individuals with strong political biases and motivations," Johnson said. "Our investigation has been, and will continue to be, undertaken with the greatest integrity and transparency. We intend to determine and reveal the truth."

The Wisconsin Republican also refuted a Washington Post op-ed written by Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, that claimed that Congress "may become a forum for debunked conspiracy theories peddled by Kremlin proxies" because of Johnson's investigation.

Blumenthal claimed the Senate Homeland Security Committee is using documents it received from Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian member of the Ukrainian parliament, but Johnson said that is false.

"Let me be clear: The investigation by my committee of allegations of conflicts of interest within the Obama administration related to Ukraine policy and of allegations of corruption within the Obama administration affecting the 2016 election is focused on documents and officials from U.S. government agencies and a U.S. Democrat-linked lobbying firm," he said. "We have not taken, nor do we possess, the documents from Ukrainians that Democrats keep claiming."

Johnson accused Democrats and the media of "doing Russian President Vladimir Putin's work for him."

"Puppet masters in the Kremlin could not be more pleased at the political division and discord that has been driven by the resistance movement against President Trump," he wrote.

Senator Gary Peters, the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, did not immediately return a request for comment.

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