Lindsey Graham has been one of the most vigilant of our government watchdogs. The Senator is convinced that Barack Obama’s Department of Justice overstepped their boundaries to influence the 2016 election and he’s doing something about it.
Last week, Graham sent a polite warning to Attorney General William Barr advising him not to drag his feet much longer. He demands that the AG release what President Trump told him to release. All the dirt that piled up next to Christopher Steele’s dossier, and the ins and outs of how it was improperly used. The list is a “treasure trove” of hard evidence that indicates corruption at the top levels of the previous administration.
It appears from what we already know that Steele’s “opposition research” was supported by news leaks from the dossier itself, to obtain and renew wire tap warrants for Trump associate Carter Page. That is flat out “weaponization” of the Justice Department, and it dwarfs the Nixon Watergate scandal.
Graham’s letter seems to have been prompted by news that the Justice Department is hesitating to disclose some of the crucial records which are also needed in a related civil matter.
In May, President Trump gave Barr the authority to declassify whatever he could, “as part of his ongoing review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters.” Barr just hasn’t signed off on it yet. A few days before Graham’s letter, it was off the table but still open for discussion.
A Justice Department court filing advised the federal judge, “although the President did delegate declassification authority to the Attorney General, to date, the Attorney General has not exercised that declassification authority to declassify the materials remaining at issue in this case.” Graham’s letter makes it crystal clear to the Attorney General that the whole world is watching his next move.
The Republican Senator from South Carolina starts out by reminding Mr. Barr that the Inspector General’s probe into the “applicable Department and FBI policies and Procedures” is wrapping up. “According to Inspector General Horowitz that investigation is nearing completion.”
That means, “certain documents will need to be declassified and released to the public.” Things like, “all documents and communications originally shared with the Gang of Eight in May 2018 related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
He’s already seen them, so he makes sure to note he also wants any transcripts “of conversations between George Papadopoulos and confidential informants.”
Graham wants to see all the “applications for FISA warrants, and any renewals thereof, for Carter Page or anyone else associated with the Trump campaign.” That includes the Letter from the Department of Justice direct to the FISA court that they filed under Rule 13(a), and any “opinions” issued by the court related to the warrants.
Then there is a chart. One that shows “the FBI’s attempts to verify the allegations in the Steele dossier.” Word around the campfire is that there wasn’t much attempt made and what they did check out didn’t pass the sniff test.
That’s why Graham is also asking for “any FBI or Department documents or communications discussing Christopher Steele’s credibility and/or biases or the FBI or the Department’s knowledge of Steele’s contacts with members of the media.” Steele and others were leaking to the press like a sieve. Then they used the news articles to back the dossier claims to the FISA Court (allegedly of course).
Some of the other key players are on Graham’s radar too. He wants interview summary reports from “anyone at FBI or the Department who interacted or accepted documents or communications from Christopher Steele, Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS, Michael Sussman, Perkins Coie, or the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or anyone associated with the DNC. That is to show the money trail. Hillary Clinton’s campaign picked up the tab for the whole show.
Graham wants the public to see “the FBI’s confidential human source reports and related documents and communications for Christopher Steele.” Finally, he wants all the “documents and communications related to the defensive briefing given to both the Clinton and Trump campaigns.” That will show by comparison exactly how interested they were in actually preventing any Russian “collusion.”
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