Senator Lindsey Graham has released interview transcripts from his inquiry into the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, claiming they show the ‘gross incompetence’ and corruption behind the effort.
Graham, a South Carolina Republican and chair of the Judiciary Committee, on Thursday released hundreds of pages of transcripts from the committee’s inquiry into the origins and aftermath of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, as the FBI probe was code-named.
‘I believe that Crossfire Hurricane was one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ,’ said Graham in a statement.
The transcripts cover the contents of 11 closed-door Judiciary hearings conducted from March to October of 2020, including interviews with former top DOJ official Bruce Ohr and former Acting Attorney General Dana J. Boente.
Senator Lindsey Graham has released interview transcripts from his investigation into the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, claiming they show the ‘gross incompetence’ in the investigation
Graham harshly criticized former FBI Director Jim Comey (above) and his top lieutenant, Andrew McCabe
Crossfire Hurricane was the FBI’s investigation into allegations that Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the election. The probe was later turned over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose report ultimately found no proof of such a conspiracy.
Among the revelations in the released transcripts, an unnamed FBI agent who was British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s primary contact and handler admitted that it was immediately apparent that Steele’s ‘dirty dossier’ was ‘political.’
‘I mean, it was obvious,’ the FBI agent said when asked if the dossier was political in nature.
The agent said that he did not initially know which political party had funded the dossier, which was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
‘It was completely obvious to all of us, whoever was involved in these conversations, what the purpose was of the information was — to be used by one political party or another,’ the agent said.
The dossier contained salacious allegations, including that Russia had compromising videos of Trump, but that and other claims were never verified.
An unnamed FBI agent who was British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s (above) handler admitted that it was immediately apparent that Steele’s ‘dirty dossier’ was ‘political.’
‘I mean, it was obvious,’ the FBI agent said when asked if the dossier was political in nature
Nevertheless, Steele’s dossier became part of the evidence used to obtain a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page from a secretive special court through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Page was never charged with a crime.
‘The FISA warrant applications against Carter Page were a travesty, and those who signed them have acknowledged that if they knew then what they know now, they would not have signed it,’ Graham said on Thursday.
Another released interview, with an individual identified as ‘Supervisory Special Agent 1’, reveals that the SSA had requested a ‘validation review’ of Steele’s subsources, and quit Crossfire Hurricane after the request was denied.
The SSA said he was aware that Steele ‘had a sub source network that provided him the reporting,’ and became aware that he ‘was collecting this information for an entity that was conducting opposition research.’
The SSA said he requested an outside review of Steele’s primary subsource, but that the proposal was shot down by former FBI deputy assistant director of counterintelligence Peter Strzok and former assistant director of counterintelligence Bill Priestap, saying they feared leaks.
The SSA was concerned enough by the decision to leave Crossfire Hurricane, he said.
Former top DOJ official Bruce Ohr was among those interviewed by the Judiciary Committee
‘It is hard to believe that the senior officials at the FBI did not know that the Steele Dossier had been disavowed by the Russian subsource,’ Graham said.
‘It is equally hard to believe that the warnings from the CIA and other agencies about the reliability of Christopher Steele and the dossier were not known to senior leadership.’
Graham harshly criticized former FBI Director Jim Comey and his top lieutenant, Andrew McCabe.
‘The leadership of the FBI under Comey and McCabe was either grossly incompetent or they knowingly allowed tremendous misdeeds,’ Graham said.
‘There was a blind eye turned toward any explanation other than the Trump campaign was colluding with foreign powers. At every turn the FBI and DOJ ran stop signs that were in abundance regarding exculpatory information,’ he added.
‘There was no ‘there’ there. The investigation was pushed when it should have been stopped and the only logical explanation is that the investigators wanted an outcome because of their bias,’ Graham said.
A 2019 report from the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General did not find evidence of political bias in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, but did criticize ‘basic and fundamental’ errors and omissions in the FISA warrant applications to surveill Page.
U.S. Attorney John Durham has been appointed as a special counsel to pursue a separate investigation into whether Crossfire Hurricane had proper and legal origins.
The ongoing Durham investigation followed Trump´s repeated calls to ‘investigate the investigators.’