FBI documents and communications that were recently declassified show the bureau treated foreign interference on Hillary Clinton’s campaign differently than it did with President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released the documents on Sunday with a lengthy statement about the contents:
There was a clear double standard by the Department of Justice and FBI when it came to the Trump and Clinton campaigns in 2016.
These newly released documents indicate that a foreign government was trying to influence the Clinton campaign through a campaign associate and the FBI was seeking a FISA warrant. However, the Bureau, as it is supposed to do, required that Hillary Clinton be defensively briefed about the matter so she could engage in corrective action.
When it came to the Trump campaign, there were four counterintelligence investigations opened against Trump campaign associates. Not one time was President Trump defensively briefed about the FBI’s concerns.
Even more egregious, when the FBI gave a generic briefing to the Trump campaign about foreign influence, not only did they fail to mention the specific concerns about Trump associates, they sent an FBI agent into the briefing to monitor President Trump and General Flynn.
The FBI used the generic briefing as an intelligence gathering tool, which I believe to be inappropriate and shameful.
The FBI did the right thing by briefing Clinton and failed to do the right thing by never specifically briefing President Trump about their concerns.
Counterintelligence investigations are designed to protect American interests from foreign influence. They are not criminal in nature.
Given all the stunning revelations of FBI bias compiled by Inspector General Horowitz and others, it is clear to me why there was double standard — the FBI was not trying to protect the Trump campaign, they were trying to infiltrate the campaign and undermine his presidency.
My goal is to make sure we have tools to protect American political campaigns from foreign influence, but these tools cannot be used as political weapons by law enforcement or prosecutors.
I will, as Chairman of the Committee, try to reform the FISA counterintelligence programs because they are necessary tools in the times in which we live. However, no reform will work until those who abused the programs in the past are held accountable by either dismissal or prosecution. Without accountability there will never be trust.
Finally, I appreciate the hard work of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff in finding the documents and Attorney General Barr and Director Wray for helping secure their release. The American people deserve a full accounting of the misdeeds by the FBI and DOJ. I will continue to push forward in that endeavor.
The latest documents include written recollections from FBI agents who provided the defensive briefing to the Clinton campaign as well as a summary of what would have been covered during that briefing. Emails between the FBI headquarters and a field officer were also released, including messages with former FBI Director James Comey.
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