Senator Lindsey Graham, previously one of President Trump’s most trenchant critics who back in July 2017 actually proposed a law to prohibit President Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, has now made the extent of his disillusionment with the FBI’s conduct and with the whole Russiagate investigation crystal clear.
In an interview with Fox News Lindsey Graham says that after having reviewed confidential information about the Trump Dossier provided at the insistence of Congressional investigators he is filled with dismay and believes that a new Special Counsel must be appointed to investigate the FBI’s conduct and the Trump Dossier.
Here is how Byron York of the Washington Examiner reports Lindsey Graham’s comments
I’ve spent some time in the last couple of days, after a lot of fighting with the Department of Justice, to get the background on the dossier, and here’s what I can tell your viewers: I’m very disturbed about what the Department of Justice did with this dossier, and we need a special counsel to look into that, because that’s not in Mueller’s charter. And what I saw, and what I’ve gathered in the last couple of days, bothers me a lot, and I’d like somebody outside DOJ to look into how this dossier was handled and what they did with it.
Host Brian Kilmeade asked Graham, “So, you’ve found out something you did not know?
“Yes,” Graham answered.
Kilmeade asked whether Graham was disturbed by the contents of the dossier or how the Justice Department used it in the Trump-Russia investigation.
“I’ve been a lawyer most of my life, a prosecutor, and a defense attorney,” Graham began. He continued:
And the one thing I can say, every prosecutor has a duty to the court to disclose things that are relevant to the request. So any time a document is used to go to court, for legal reasons, I think the Department of Justice owes it to the court to be up-and-up about exactly what this document is about, who paid for it, who’s involved, what their motives might be. And I can just say this: After having looked at the history of the dossier, and how it was used by the Department of Justice, I’m really very concerned, and this cannot be the new normal.
(bold italics added)
These words all but confirm that the FBI used material from the Trump Dossier to obtain FISA warrants from the FISA court which enabled it to conduct surveillance of US citizens involved in Donald Trump’s campaign during the election, without disclosing to the FISA court the provenance of this material or the fact that it originated in an unverified Dossier paid for by the DNC and by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
I have been making this point – that it is the secret surveillance undertaken by the US security services during the election of Hillary Clinton’s electoral opponents – which is the true scandal of the 2016 election, ever since March
What we now learn is that the Obama administration, of which Hillary Clinton was once a part, used the US’s federal security and intelligence agencies during the election to spy on Hillary Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump, and on his campaign. They did so despite the fact that no evidence existed or has ever come to light of any wrongdoing by Donald Trump or by anyone else working on his behalf or for his campaign such as would normally justify surveillance.
I have discussed this again in much more detail recently as more information has come to light, especially in light of what is known about the various activities of the FBI’s former deputy director for counter espionage Peter Strzok.
We now know from a variety of sources but first and foremost from the testimony to Congress of Carter Page that the Trump Dossier provided the frame narrative for the Russiagate investigation until just a few months ago.
We also know that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report about supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election which was shown by the US intelligence chiefs to President elect Trump during their stormy meeting with him on 8th January 2017.
The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of this year the top officials of the FBI and of the US intelligence community – Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the rest – believed in its truth.
The June 2017 article in the Washington Post (discussed by me here) also all but confirms that it was the Trump Dossier that provided the information which the CIA sent to President Obama in August 2016 which supposedly ‘proved’ that the Russians were interfering in the election.
As the BBC has pointed out, it was also the Trump Dossier which Congressman Adam Schiff – the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Community, who appears to be very close to some of the FBI investigators involved in the Russiagate case – as well as the FBI’s Russiagate investigators were using as the narrative frame when questioning witnesses about their supposed role in Russiagate.
These facts make it highly likely that it was indeed the Trump Dossier which provided the information which the FBI used to obtain all the surveillance warrants the FBI obtained from the FISA court during the 2016 election and afterwards……
This once again points to the true scandal of the 2016 election.
On the strength of a fake Dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community carried out surveillance during the election of US citizens who were members of the campaign team of Hillary Clinton’s opponent Donald Trump.
Lindsey Graham’s words – based on his reading of confidential FBI documents – vindicates what I have been saying about the true scandal of the 2016 Presidential election since March.
We now stand at a crossroads in the Russiagate affair.
Lindsey Graham’s words show that as the truth of what actually happened during the 2016 election has slowly dripped out even many of Donald Trump’s formerly most implacable Republican opponents have begun to see the truth and are beginning to press for the real scandal of the 2016 Presidential election to be investigated.
As Lindsey Graham’s words also show, these same Republicans have now lost faith in Mueller’s ability or willingness to do this, and are increasingly demanding that a second Special Counsel be appointed to do the things Mueller cannot or will not do.
Even some Democrats are now beginning to have doubts. Remarkably even CNN – possibly the single most strident supporter of the Russiagate conspiracy theory in the mainstream media – has now published an article by Paul Callan which outlines in detail the case against the FBI, admits that it is compelling, and ends with these (from this source) truly remarkable words
While I rarely agree with much of what the President does or says regarding legal issues, this time he’s got it right. The FBI’s reputation has been severely damaged not by the President’s criticism but by a systematic failure of the bureau’s leadership.
The field agents of the FBI should still retain the trust of the American people. Their honor and dignity has not been compromised; but the bureau’s leadership ranks require a prompt and thorough house cleaning by the new director, Christopher Wray. The bureau’s leadership has forfeited the reputation of a cherished American institution
The question is whether this is enough to tip what by rights should be the proper investigation into the real scandal of the 2016 election onto its proper course?
In the article which I have just quoted Byron York suggests that appointing a second Special Counsel would be burdensome and unnecessary because the task of investigating the FBI’s conduct can be left to the Congressional committees
Graham found the dossier affair serious enough to warrant an entirely new investigation. It’s not in Mueller’s charter, Graham said. And Graham does not appear to trust the Justice Department to investigate itself on this particular issue.
But there has been serious resistance to the idea of another special counsel in the Trump-Russia matter. Such investigations are inevitably subject to mission creep and can go on seemingly forever. It’s unclear whether anything would be done in response to Graham’s call.
In any event, the efforts pushed by Nunes and the Senate show that Congress, if it is aggressive, can investigate a matter like this. And there are still several more aggressive actions Congress can pursue, if it wants to uncover the full extent of the Trump dossier matter.
This is a dangerously complacent view, playing straight into the FBI’s hands and making investigation of its conduct hostage to the outcome of November’s Congressional elections. Besides, as I have pointed out in the past, Congressional committees are properly speaking supervisory not investigative committees, and they are not structured for investigations of this kind.
What this situation urgently calls for is a new Special Counsel – ideally a retired federal judge rather than an investigator or prosecutor – able to send his investigators into the Justice Department and the FBI rather than have to plead with them and cajole them for answers.
I suspect that the thing which is preventing this from happening – apart obviously from the resistance of the Justice Department and the FBI themselves – is resistance to this idea from those Republicans in Congress like Marco Rubio who continue to be so embittered against Donald Trump that they are still willing the Russiagate investigation to succeed.
The stakes however could not be higher. If what actually happened during the 2016 election is not investigated then it really does risk becoming what Lindsey Graham said – “the new normal” – with future administrations and political campaigns commissioning ‘research’ to get the US’s intelligence and security agencies to carry out surveillance on their opponents during elections.
Not only would that shift the conduct of US politics – already deeply corrupted by ‘dark money’ financing and lobbying – further towards backstairs wire-pulling, but it would risk entrenching the position of the US’s intelligence and security agencies as the final arbiters of elections. Needless to say where that ever to happen the US constitution would no longer function and the US would cease to be a democracy.
Short term political calculations and questions of ‘inconvenience’ cannot be allowed to apply in such a situation. Anyone who really cares about the future of the United States should understand this and support Lindsey Graham’s demand for a second Special Counsel to be appointed.