Reacting to a newly declassified FBI document indicating the FBI intentionally misled the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2018 regarding the reliability of the Steele dossier, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that the FBI mischaracterized, misled, and lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee just as it had done to both the Department of Justice and the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court. “These are crimes and somebody needs to go jail for this,” he stated.
Graham was speaking on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo shortly after the Judiciary Committee Chairman released a declassified FBI document that included talking points from an FBI briefing given to the Senate Intelligence Committee in February 2018 as well as details of the FBI’s assessment of the primary source of the information contained in the Steele dossier.
Graham said that by 2018, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee became suspicious of former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source and, as a result, requested a detailed briefing from the FBI.
Graham said the FBI sent a briefer to the committee and “misled the hell out of them [the Senate Intelligence Committee]” by stating there was no evidence from the sub-source to suggest that Steele fabricated anything in the dossier. “So they completely misrepresented to the Senate Intel. Committee in 2018 what the sub-source had told the FBI in 2017, and that is a new crime, a different crime.”
Graham claimed that the one thing that “gets him the most” is that the FBI briefer had told the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2018 that “at a minimum, our discussions with the primary source confirms that the dossier was not fabricated by Steele” while assuring the committee that “everything is fine.” Yet, at that point, the FBI had already interviewed the primary source a year earlier who revealed that many of Steele’s assertions were baseless. “Actually it was bar talk, hearsay, speculation and conjecture,” he said, with allegations about Trump’s sexual activities being made merely in “jest.”
Graham went on to express the severity of what was done, stating, “this is a second lie, this is a second crime,” which someone needs to be imprisoned for. Noting that in 2019 the FBI was harshly rebuked by the FISA court for lying in order to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign — which has thus cast doubt on all previous FISA applications — Graham expressed his astonishment at the matter. “It’s just amazing, the compounding of the lies,” he said.
Graham suggested that the briefer must have been a member of the FBI’s controversial Crossfire Hurricane team tasked with investigating members of the Trump campaign, otherwise “why else would he lie to the committee?”
Graham highlighted how all this deception took place under the watch of current FBI Director Christopher Wray and said he intends to confront Wray and demand he explain how a briefer from the FBI was sent over to the committee to mislead the Senate about Steele’s primary source, all while Wray’s FBI possessed files (which Inspector General Michael Horowitz had already uncovered) showing that the primary source “completely denied the reliability” of the Steele dossier.
Graham emphatically stated, “I’m gonna find out who did that briefing, and whoever it is, they’re in trouble.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.