This Monday, Senator Lindsey Graham held a press conference and announced that he will be seeking an official investigation into the FBI’s handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s misuse of classified email, and the Obama-era directive that allowed the FBI to obtain secret FISA warrants.
The Hill reported that, following revelations in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Senator Graham has concerns that the Obama Administration allowed blatant abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and that the so-called “Steele Dossier” was actually used to obtain FISA warrants to wiretap key Trump aides like Carter Page and Paul Manafort, who, as Mueller’s report says, did not attempt to collude with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.
“When it comes to the FISA warrant, the Clinton campaign, the counterintelligence investigation, it’s pretty much been swept under the rug. … Those days are over,” Graham said on Monday during his presser.
“The FISA warrant issued against Carter Page based on a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele is at a minimum disturbing,” Graham added. “Whether or not it’s illegal, I don’t yet know, so I’m going to get answers to this.”
Senator Lindsey Graham sure as a lot to work with. As (the decidedly not conservative) Matt Taibbi pointed out during the weekend, in a piece taking the media to task for failing to report accurately on the Russia collusion story, perhaps one of the strangest developments of the Mueller investigation is the media’s lack of attention to the malfeasance on the part of both the FBI and CIA.
According to Taibbi, the Steele dossier was sent to multiple news outlets, who ultimately gave the report credence, occasionally with input from current and former intelligence officials.
Once the allegations from the dossier made it into print, it appears the FBI used the stories to demonstrate the dossier’s credibility to the FISA court, even though Christopher Steele, who compiled the report, was very far from a reliable source.
The Wall Street Journal also noted the suspicious chain of evidence that led to the FISA court issuing warrants, including a green light to wiretap Manafort, which may have unintentionally led to the FBI listening in on conversations Manafort had with then-candidate Donald Trump.
“The FBI unleashed its powers on a candidate for the office of the U.S. presidency, an astonishing first. It did so on the incredible grounds that the campaign had conspired to aid a foreign government. And it used the most aggressive tools in its arsenal—surveillance of U.S. citizens, secret subpoenas of phone records and documents, even human informants.” the WSJ’s Kim Strassel reported.
The “circular reporting” story is certainly unproven, but as Senator Graham noted this Monday, it is very odd that it deserves a second look from Congress.
“I believe there was more there and I intend to get to there,” Graham said.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who is the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, could use his power to directly question certain officials, but he also mentioned speaking to Attorney General William Barr about appointing a second Special Counsel — “somebody like a Mr. Mueller” — to continue the investigation independent of Congress.