Former South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy noted that the FBI investigated the false collusion between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russia in a biased manner.
Gowdy made his statements based on the report of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which was presented on Dec. 10.
“That’s not the FBI I worked with. It’s not representative of the 99.9% of the office agents I know,” Gowdy told Fox News this week.
Godwy’s statements contradict Horowitz, who indicated that the federal agency’s Trump-Russia investigation was not based on an ‘anti-Trump’ partisan bias.
False Russian Collusion
In 2016, under the Obama administration, FBI investigated a campaign member of then-candidate Trump, claiming he was a Russian spy.
To do this, the agents applied for a Foreign Intelligence Act (FISA) warrant, which was granted by the appropriate court on four occasions.
Since the case made headlines, Donald Trump denied the allegations and they were later refuted by the extensive and costly investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Abuses during the Obama administration
At the same time, however, serious irregularities and abuses committed by the Obama administration came to light in order to obtain judicial approval to spy on Carter Page, the former campaign member of then-candidate Trump.
Horowitz’s report found several “significant” errors and omissions (an FBI lawyer altering email information) in the FBI’s effort to obtain FISA warrants.
“If you’re changing emails, manufacturing, altering evidence—which is a crime—because you want to get it. … Not only do you not have any business being an FBI agent or law enforcement, you probably ought to be wearing an orange jumpsuit,” Gowdy said.
Gowdy added that the “most damning part” of the report, in effect, focused on how an FBI lawyer, identified as Kevin Clinesmith, improperly altered a document in the final renewal of FISA to say that Page was not “a source” for another government agency.
Clinesmith, who is no longer with the FBI, is being investigated by prosecutor John Durham as part of his review of the investigation in Russia.
“I did not know that an FBI lawyer—someone that we give incredible powers and authorities and therefore corresponding responsibility to—would change someone’s status,” Gowdy said.
“I mean, keep in mind: A counterintelligence investigation is because you think Carter Page is working on behalf of Russia. The reality is Carter Page was working on behalf of the United States of America, and you changed it from he’s not a — he is a source to he’s not a source, which is a manifestly unfair thing to do to Carter Page,” he explained.
The role of the CIA
The other agency, supposedly the CIA, had informed the FBI that Page was an “operational contact” for the CIA between 2008 and 2013, providing information in the course of his normal activities about his contacts with Russian intelligence officials, detailed Washington Examiner.
The possibility that the FBI team that initiated the investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, was unaware of this information raises questions about whether they might not otherwise start an investigation into Page.
Gowdy blamed the then CIA director, John Brennan, for not doing more to defend Page while he was under surveillance.
“It would have been nice for him to stick up and say, ‘Hey, y’all are doing surveillance right now, reading the emails, intercepting the phone calls of someone that actually is working for the country as opposed to against the country,” Gowdy said.
He also spoke harshly about the role of then FBI Director James Comey, who signed three of Page’s FISA warrants before being fired in May 2017.
Comey had celebrated the release of the inspector general’s report, saying it showed that the FBI was “smeared” by allies of Attorney General William Barr and President Trump.
“The FBI fulfilled its mission—protecting the American people and upholding the U.S. Constitution. Now those who attacked the FBI for two years should admit they were wrong,” he wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece on Monday.
After Horowitz’s presentation, Barr had exposed how the report demonstrated the “misconduct” of “a small group of former FBI officers” that demonstrated a “clear abuse of the FISA process.”
“I don’t know what report Comey read,” Gowdy said.
“This is the third IG report that has found his conduct to be substandard,” he said.