A Wednesday bombshell report exposed a list of ex-Obama administration officials who called for the unmasking of former national security adviser Michael Flynn's identity in surveilled calls with a former Russian ambassador. Now GOP senators say they will call those officials to testify about their unmasking requests.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell on Wednesday declassified a list of 39 Obama-era officials who made these multiple requests, which included former Vice President Joe Biden, former CIA Director John Brennan, former DNI James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, and even President Obama's then-chief of staff Denis McDonough.
SCOOP @CBSNews obtains @RichardGrenell notification to congress declassified “unmasking list” Flynn between late 20… https://t.co/S4QHUAQnxK— Catherine Herridge (@Catherine Herridge) 1589393988.0
After the list was exposed, multiple Senate Republican committee chairmen began demanding information from the people on the list and vowing to use their gavels to get answers.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who heads a Homeland Security oversight subcommittee, demanded that Biden, Brennan, Clapper, and Comey testify under oath.
"The Senate must immediately hold hearings on this!" Paul tweeted. "Clapper, Comey, Brennan and even Biden owe it to the American people. They should testify under oath. What did the former president know?"
The Senate must immediately hold hearings on this! Clapper, Comey, Brennan and even Biden owe it to the American pe… https://t.co/65Edsssloo— Senator Rand Paul (@Senator Rand Paul) 1589397830.0
Paul said Wednesday that Biden was caught "red-handed" listening in on President Donald Trump's transition team, which included Flynn.
“It looks like each of these administration officials actually individually requested to listen to this conversation," he said.
"These rumors have been going around for years that President Obama's administration was abusing this power of unmasking, and this sounds like they were abusing it to go after a political opponent, which, I think, is a very serious offense and should be investigated," Paul continued. "And the fact that Vice President Biden is directly involved with unmasking a political opponent — think about it. You remember we went through this thing called impeachment?
"They said that President Trump was using the government to go after a political opponent," he added. "This is Vice President Biden using the spying powers of the United States to go after a political opponent. He's caught red-handed here. Vice President Biden is caught red-handed eavesdropping on a political opponent's phone calls."
The senator then reminded the media that they have a job to do.
"Every reporter in the country now needs to ask him a legitimate question," Paul said. "He needs to come out of hibernation, and they need to ask Vice President Biden, 'What kind of a person eavesdrops? Is that something that we think is a legitimate function of government, to eavesdrop on your opponents without a warrant, to illegally unmask them and listen to their private conversation?'"
And he called on Democrats to understand exactly what was going on.
"The other side needs to realize: This is exactly what they were accusing President Trump of, but he was actually acquitted on that charge. They have now found that Vice President Biden is guilty of using government to go after a political opponent," Paul added.
Rand Paul calls for investigations into handling of Michael Flynn case youtu.be
Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) seemed to agree with Paul's demands.
“Right now we're in the information gathering phase of this and this obviously, from my standpoint, raises a lot more questions than it actually answers," Johnson said Wednesday, adding that his committed would "start requesting interviews with those individuals."
He told reporters that he most wants to hear from Clapper, Brennan, McDonough, and maybe Biden, The Hill reported.
Johnson stated, "I want to find out what you were looking at, why you unmasked an American's identity and how you used that."
According to Johnson, these people were clearly attempting to "sabotage" the Trump administration.
"It is outrageous what these officials from the Obama administration did to the incoming administration," he said.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he also plans to hold a hearing this summer on the political interference by the FBI and Justice Department in their investigations and prosecutions of Flynn.