Those calls had largely gone unheeded by Republicans who control the Senate until they nabbed a foothold recently after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee voted to authorize more than three dozen subpoenas and depositions to compel testimony from former FBI Director James Comey and others.
Trump lashed out at Comey, a frequent target of his, accusing him and “all the sleazebags” of “treason.”
“They spied on my campaign, and we caught ‘em,” Trump said in Dayton during an event billed as being about jobs and fighting for American workers. “Let‘s now see what happens.”
The president claimed that he is “trying like hell to stay out of” investigating his political enemies ahead of a highly contentious election. Emotions are likely to be ratcheted up further in the wake of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death Friday. Republican operatives have credited a high court vacancy with partially fueling his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t have to actually, but it’s better if I do, I think,” Trump said of investigations. “I’m trying to stay out of it, but it’s a disgrace that it’s taken this long.”
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has been teasing a forthcoming report detailing allegations against the Bidens, with a focus on Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian energy company, which to be released sometime this month.
Democrats have decried the Senate committee’s investigations as a fishing expedition intended to damage Biden’s presidential bid, and said that Johnson’s probes are echoing false claims seeded by a Russian disinformation project — a charge that the Wisconsin Republican has rebuffed as a “coordinated smear.” Johnson has acknowledged that the examination into Obama-era intelligence agencies would be beneficial to Trump’s reelection effort.
Trump also expressed sympathy for what “bad people” did to Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser. In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Flynn later moved to withdraw his plea, alleging that he was coerced into pleading guilty. The Justice Department in May took steps to cease its prosecution of Flynn after the release of FBI records detailing the origins of the criminal case against the retired lieutenant general that the department has argued in court documents lacked proper investigative grounding.
“What they’ve done to General Flynn and others is a disgrace,” Trump said.
Trump has provided no evidence to support his claims, and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified before lawmakers in August denying any impropriety into the FBI’s investigation into Flynn .