Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, on Monday, Dec. 9, responded to the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report released Monday by calling it a “criminal conspiracy.”
“I believe there will be no debate among reasonable-minded people … about how the system not only 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 that I think was fundamentally flawed and unlawful,” Graham said during a press conference on Monday.
Horowitz “identified at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications to surveil President Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
Horowitz confirmed in the report that the FBI relied on material that was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in order to get a FISA warrant on President Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who was placed under surveillance four separate times for a total of 12 months.
Graham also criticized the FBI for becoming a “criminal conspiracy to defraud the court.”
“If I was Mr. Carter Page, I’d hire me a lawyer and I’d sue the hell out of the United States,” Graham said. “What they did from that point on, this whole endeavor became a criminal conspiracy to defraud the court, to trample on the rights of an American citizen, Mr. Carter Page,” he added.
On “Hannity” Graham expressed his outrage over the report.
“What I’m here to tell you and the American people is this: If it started legitimate, it became criminal pretty quick. Here’s what I’m going to say to Horowitz. Do you agree with me that in January 2017 after the sub-source told the FBI and Department of Justice everything in the dossier is a bunch of B.S.? That’s when it became a criminal conspiracy … they told the court they were truthful and credible. At that point in time people in the FBI and the Department of Justice defrauded the FISA court, trampled on the constitutional rights of Carter Page, and continued the surveillance of a duly elected president unlawfully …”
Graham continued, “It’s a bunch of hearsay, gossip, and bar talk. It’s not reliable. I hope every American would agree that the proper thing for the FBI to do is to inform the court of exculpatory information (tending to clear from a charge of fault or guilt). The wrong thing to do is to lie to the court about what the sub-source told you…”
Graham said he would ask Horowitz some tough questions when his committee interviews the IG on Wednesday.
“This is what [former FBI Director] J. Edgar Hoover used to do. They used to make stuff up. They used to lie to people to get what they wanted. … They hate Donald Trump’s guts and any other conclusion is pretty ridiculous.”
President Trump on Monday, Dec. 9, in response the FISA report, said, “It’s a disgrace what’s happened with the things that were done to our country.”
“They fabricated evidence and they lied to the courts,” Trump continued. “This was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it, and they got caught.”
Attorney General William Barr on Dec. 9 also slammed the report, calling it a “clear abuse” of the FISA process.
“In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source,” Barr said.
“The inspector general found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the inspector general was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the inspector general’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.”