On Wednesday, speaking at Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s hearing, Senator Ted Cruz attacked the Obama administration for its supposed ignorance of the actions of the FBI and DOJ that targeted the 2016 Trump campaign, snapping, “This wasn’t Jason Bourne. This was Beavis and Butt-Head.”
Cruz began, “Reading this report— this is a 434 page report — that lays out what I consider to be a stunning indictment of the FBI and the Department of Justice of a pattern of abuse of power. And I will say both the Department of Justice and the FBI, for decades, have had a great many honorable principled professionals with a fidelity to rule of law. And this indictment – I’m an alumnus of the Department of Justice — this pattern of facts makes me angry, and it makes anyone who expects law enforcement to be non-partisan and faithful to the law, it should make them angry as well.”
He continued, “Now the press has focused on your specific conclusion that you did not find evidence of political bias. That’s a judgment you have; I disagree with that judgment. But I think that judgment is, in many ways, the least significant component of this report. I think the facts that are in this report need to be understood and they should be deeply chilling to anyone who understands the facts in this report, and then people can draw the inference as to why that pattern of abuse occurred.”
Horowitz, asked if he agreed that the facts should be made known to the public, said he did.
Cruz continued, “So this 434-page report, outlines 17 major errors and misstatements that were made by the FBI or DOJ in securing FISA warrants. A number of them are deeply, deeply troubling. These are not typos; these are not small inadvertent errors; these are grotesque abuses of power. Let’s focus on a couple of them.”
The primary subsource: the primary subsource, and indeed the first error you note in the second, third, and fourth application for the FISA warrant is that the primary subsource reporting raised serious questions about the accuracy of the Steele dossier, which we now know was a bunch of malarkey, to use a term that’s been in the news lately, and that the FISA court was not informed of that. Now let’s get specific: so the basis of this Steele report was what’s referred to in your report as the primary subsource. That was the principal basis, and the FBI interviewed that primary subsource not once, not twice, but three times, in January, March and May of 2017. What did the primary subsource say? As the OIG reports, the interviews with the primary subsource raised “significant questions about the reliability of the Steel reporting.” What did the subsource say specifically, as your report goes on to say? It says, “Steele misstated or exaggerated multiple sections of the reporting.”
After Cruz delineated the extent of the misstatements and exaggerations, Cruz continued, “The FBI had that information; knew that the basis of this dossier was saying it’s unreliable, and what did the FBI and DOJ do? … The FBI advised the court, ‘The FBI found the Russian-based subsource to be truthful and cooperative’ with zero revisions.”
Cruz added that the second error was omitting Carter Page’s association with U.S. intelligence, pointing out that Page’s talking to Russians made sense from that perspective.
Cruz spoke of the fact that the DNC funded the opposition research done by Fusion GPS and the fact that the FISA court was not informed of that fact by the FBI or DOJ.
Cruz slammed the Obama Administration for its supposed ignorance of what was going on:
I can tell you from my time at the Department of Justice and from my time in law enforcement, any responsible leader when hearing that you’re talking about sending in spies and sending in a wiretap on any presidential nominee should say, “What in the hell are we doing?” And by the way, the people up the chain who are saying “We didn’t know,” if you had responsible leadership there’s no more important decision than you make.
I can tell you, when I was at DOJ, if someone said let’s tap Hillary Clinton or let’s tap Bill Clinton or John Kerry, the people there would have said, “What in the hell are you talking about?” What was going on here, this wasn’t Jason Bourne. This was Beavis and Butt-Head.