Tensions have begun to rise on the Senate Judiciary Committee as the new chairman, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) begins to investigate Obama-era scandals, according to The Hill.
Areas that Graham has decided to investigate include the "FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications targeting former Trump campaign aide Carter Page."
Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) laughed about Graham’s plans. He said, “This is going to be like the History Channel it turns out. Instead of taking a look at the current issues, Lindsey Graham wants to go back and answer important questions about the Bermuda Triangle and Hillary Clinton.”
Strained relations on the panel persist from the partisan struggle over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh’s confirmation. During the battle, Graham was praised by the conservatives when he accused Democrats of trying to “destroy this guy’s life” after his sexual assault allegations.
Christopher Coons (D-Del.), a member of the judiciary committee, encouraged Graham to tread carefully, saying that “it depends how divisive partisan topics are approached.”
“It is possible for the Judiciary Committee to remain a highly functional committee even while tackling controversial topics,” Coons said.
He added that it would be more “constructive” if Graham focused on more bipartisan areas first.
Now, Democrats want the committee to investigate a BuzzFeed News report that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, *"*told Mueller that Trump personally directed him to lie after his election about the timing of when the negotiations involving a Trump Tower project in Moscow ended in an effort to obscure the president’s involvement."
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked Graham to call Cohen to testify for the committee.
On some key areas, Graham has aligned himself with Trump. For example, he’s promised he’ll use the Judiciary Committee to clear the president’s judicial picks.
Graham’s investigation could overlap with that of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has its own probe of the 2016 election.
Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), who is a member of both panels, said that there had been a “jurisdictional battle” between the two committees, but "that oversight of the Justice Department and FBI was in the Judiciary Committee’s lane."
“The Senate Judiciary Committee has oversight responsibility for the DOJ and the FBI and so I think oversight hearings ... could be useful,” Cornyn said.
Cornyn added, “as long as it’s focused on oversight of those institutions, the FBI and DOJ, it’s clearly in the Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction … [But] there’s no question that sometimes there’s tension between those two.”