June 11, 2020

Feinstein: Judiciary Chairman’s Subpoena Authority ‘Unprecedented’

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today delivered the following remarks on Chairman Graham’s “unprecedented” move to give himself subpoena authority related to Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI investigation into Russian election interference and ties to the Trump campaign.

Opening Remarks

Video of her opening remarks is available here.

“Today we’re resuming debate on the chair’s resolution to grant himself unilateral subpoena authority.

As I have noted in our earlier markups on this matter, this is unprecedented, at least in my 26 years. The resolution would give the chair sole authority to issue literally hundreds of subpoenas without any agreement from the ranking member or any committee vote on any specific subpoena, as required by committee rules.

Simply put, if the resolution passes it will remove any role of the minority in issuing a subpoena.

Now we have operated – for at least that I know of, for 26 years – it has come that I really think that how the rules function on subpoenas is the right way. So I would urge my colleagues to vote against the chair’s resolution.

We should operate under our existing rules. This would allow the chair to issue the subpoenas as he would want: either with the ranking member’s agreement or by a committee vote.

However, it’s my understanding that my Republican colleagues likely will support the chair’s subpoena resolution.

Last week I also offered an amendment. That amendment would grant the ranking member the same ability as the chair to issue a subpoena on the topics listed in the chair’s resolution.

The committee debate on this amendment was pending when we ended the markup last week so it will be up for further debate and a vote today. And I will have a few remarks when that time comes.”

Amendment Remarks

Video of her amendment remarks is available here.

“Nobody knows who is going to be minority and who is going to be majority next year. This amendment would add a single phrase to the end of the fourth line.

The phrase would read: ‘[and] authorizes its ranking member, after consulting the chairman, to issue subpoenas.’

This would give the minority the opportunity if there is a controversial hearing to see that they have a chance to present their case by subpoenaing a witness.

If you don’t grant this, you are going to skew future hearings. And it’s very concerning to me. We could be in the majority. I wouldn’t want to do that to the minority. I think you want to hear both sides in a hearing.”

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