Sen. Lindsey Graham slammed the FBI for running a “fundamentally flawed and unlawful” investigation against President Trump that became a “criminal enterprise” in which they “made stuff up” just like in “the good old days of J. Edgar Hoover.”
“Let’s assume for a moment it started out ok…it sure as hell didn’t end okay,” Graham said on Monday, while urging Carter Page to sue the FBI for denying his constitutional rights.
The Republican chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee cited the Department of Justice inspector general report which was released on Monday.
DailyMail report: The report by IG Michael Horowitz cleared the FBI of having a political bias against Trump, but it did fault the bureau for using the infamous Steele dossier to justify surveillance warrants against Carter Page, who was an advisor on Trump’s campaign.
The senior Republican seized on statements made by Attorney General William Barr and US Attorney John Durham, who openly disagreed with Horowitz’s view that the FBI had ‘lawful predicate’ to open a counterintelligence investigation.
‘Three lawyers can reasonably disagree and I trust Mr Horowitz to give an honest view,’ Graham said on Monday.
‘The bar is really low to open up a counterintelligence investigation.’
Barr released a statement suggesting that the FBI ‘launched an intrusive investigation of a US presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.’
Durham, the US attorney from Connecticut who was hired by Barr to investigate the beginnings of the Russia investigation, also released a statement disagreeing with Horowitz.
Graham referred to the disagreements among the three men.
‘While there may be reasonable differences about whether there was a lawful predicate, there will be no debate among reasonable-minded people, particularly lawyers, about how the system not only got off the rails but [also] in my view became a criminal enterprise to defraud the FISA court, to deny American citizen Carter Page’s constitutional rights and to continue an operation against President Trump as president of the United States,’ the senator from South Carolina said.
Graham said the FBI’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election was ‘fundamentally flawed and unlawful.’
‘These are statements I don’t make lightly and these are statements based on the findings of the report,’ Graham said.
The senator cited evidence used in the Steele dossier which he says was based on ‘rumor, speculation, hearsay, and bar talk.’
‘That should have been a red light for the Department of Justice and the FBI,’ Graham said.
Graham chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hear testimony from Horowitz on Wednesday.