Lindsey Graham On Trump-Russia Probe: 'What Role Did Obama, CIA Play?'
Judiciary Committee chairman focused on unanswered questions of FISA abuse
Lindsey Graham has demanded answers on the role the CIA and Obama played in triggering the now-concluded Trump-Russia investigation, which cleared the president of any wrongdoing.
Speaking with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures, the Judiciary Committee chairman focused on unanswered questions about the potential abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Graham said he believed it's not just the Justice Department and the FBI that needed to be probed, but also the role of U.S. intelligence agencies.
“You know, I really am very curious about the role that CIA played here,” Graham said.
Graham highlighted the extensive use of the dossier assembled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele, which was then used extensively by the DOJ and FBI.
The firm behind the dossier, Fusion GPS, was hired through Marc Elias of the Perkins Coie law firm on behalf of the Clinton campaign.
But the Democratic funding was never disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“This whole intelligence operation, what role did the CIA play? Who knew about this in the White House? There’s a question!” Graham said.
“Was President Obama briefed on the fact that they were opening up a counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign? I’d like to know that.”
“At the time John Brennan was running CIA,” Bartiromo said.
“Are you going to call him to testify?”
“We’ll see,” Graham replied.
Former CIA director Brennan, who is a fierce critic of President Donald Trump, is now being scrutinized for his possible role in the probe.
The CIA had a key informant close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Brennan would hand-deliver information from the source in an envelope directly to Obama in the summer and fall of 2016, according to various reports.
According to The Washington Examiner: This source was purportedly presenting information about the Kremlin’s blame in election interference efforts.
There is also an ongoing dispute over whether Brennan or former FBI Director James Comey tried to include the unverified dossier in the high-profile Intelligence Community Assessment of January 2017 which centered on this Russian interference.
The interactions Trump associate George Papadopoulos had with the mysterious Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud purportedly led to the FBI opening an inquiry into Trump in July 2016.
Mifsud allegedly told Papadopoulos in the spring of 2016 about the Russians having “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
Papadopoulos then allegedly stated this to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who later passed the information along to the FBI, triggering what the FBI dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane.”
It remains unknown what Obama knew about all this as it was happening.
Graham also addressed the “three lanes” of the probe of the investigators looking at the origins and conduct of the probe into alleged connections between Trump and the Russian government.
Graham said the first lane is the work his Senate Judiciary Committee will do.
The second lane is the work being done by Attorney General William Barr and Barr’s right-hand man, U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is looking into probable criminality in the Obama administration.
The third lane is the FISA violation investigation carried out by DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz.
“My job will be to make sure this never happens again,” Graham said.
“Do we need to change the FISA warrant application process to protect against this happening in the future? Do we need to have rules about counterintelligence investigations being opened against politicians? Do we need to restructure the Department of Justice? These are things that Congress will be looking at.”