Fact Check: John Brennan, Jim Comey, James Clapper And 12 Others Were NOT Subpoenaed By Department Of Justice And AG Barr -- Senate Homeland Security Committee Approved Subpoenas

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: John Brennan, Jim Comey, James Clapper And 12 Others Were NOT Subpoenaed By Department Of Justice And AG Barr -- Senate Homeland Security Committee Approved Subpoenas Wrong Agency

Did John Brennan, Jim Comey, James Clapper and 12 others get subpoenaed by the Department of Justice and Attorney General William Barr? No, that's not true. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved subpoenas for depositions for former CIA Director Brennan, former FBI Director Comey, former Director of National Intelligence Clapper and other officials from the Obama administration as part of the committee's investigation into the FBI's Russia Investigation in 2016 according to Fox News and CNN. Neither the Department of Justice nor Barr himself issued the subpoenas.

The claim appeared as a post published on Facebook on September 16, 2020, (archived here) with following text:

John Brennan, Jim Comey, James Clapper + 12 others have just been subpoena'd by DOJ/Barr.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Sep 16 23:43:16 2020 UTC)

This information is incorrect. According to both Fox News and CNN, it was not the Department of Justice nor U.S. Attorney General Barr who issued the subpoenas.

Fox News published an article on September 16, 2020, with the headline, "Senate Homeland Security Committee authorizes subpoenas for testimony from Obama officials as part of Russia probe." The outlet did not report the subpoenas were issued by the Department of Justice or AG Barr.

The article opened:

The Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday voted to authorize subpoenas for former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, and other Obama administration officials as part of its broad review into the origins of the Russia investigation."

The Fox News article detailed the Senate committee's meeting:

The committee on Wednesday held a business meeting to authorize committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to issue notices for taking depositions, subpoenas, for records, and subpoenas for testimony to individuals relating to the panel's "Crossfire Hurricane" investigation, the Justice Department inspector general's review of that investigation, and the "unmasking" of U.S. persons affiliated with the 2016 Trump campaign, transition team and the Trump administration."

This is a screenshot of the Fox News article:

Screen Shot 2020-09-16 at 7.51.51 PM.png

CNN published an article on September 16, 2020, with the headline, "Senate panel approves more subpoenas for probe into FBI's Russia investigation." CNN did not report that the subpoenas were issued by the Department of Justice or AG Barr.

The story read:


The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved another round of subpoenas Wednesday for depositions to dozens of officials from the Obama administration as part of the panel's investigation into the FBI's 2016 Russia investigation.
The subpoenas -- which were sent to such officials as former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey -- are the latest sign that the committee is ramping up its probes of President Donald Trump's political opponents ahead of the November election. The subpoenas approved on a party-line vote Wednesday were separate from the panel's investigation into a Ukrainian energy firm and former Vice President Joe Biden, which Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson has said he plans to release soon."

This is a screenshot of the CNN article:

Screen Shot 2020-09-16 at 7.52.10 PM.png

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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