Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Monday excoriated the FBI’s investigation into now-debunked collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia as a “criminal enterprise.”
Graham made the stinging remarks following the Justice Department inspector general report’s release in which 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” involving three applications filed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were detailed. The report, authored by DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz, stated the inaccuracies likely led to the FBI’s justification to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
“I believe there will be no debate among reasonably minded people, particularly lawyers, about how the system got off the rails, but in my view became a criminal enterprise to defraud the FISA court, to deny American citizen Carter Page his constitutional rights, and to continue an operation against President Trump as president of the United States,” he said.
“These are statements I don’t make lightly,” he added.
The FBI included unverified information from former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele in its application seeking a warrant to wiretap Page. After a sub-source of Steele’s raised doubt on the information regarding Page, the FBI withheld the concerns from the FISA court, said the report.
Although Horowitz harshly criticized the FBI’s conduct, he ruled that the officials overseeing the investigation were not tainted by political bias and their information was “sufficient to satisfy the low threshhold” to launch the probe.
Attorney General William Barr issued a statement condemning the report’s conclusions, saying it proved the FBI launched an “intrusive” probe into the Trump campaign on “the thinnest of suspicions.”
“It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory,” Barr said. “Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration.”