News and Commentary

WATCH: Lindsey Graham Rips FBI After Release of IG Report: FBI’s Investigation A ‘Criminal Enterprise’
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.
Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Speaking at a news conference Monday night, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, ripped into the FBI for its actions in its investigation into President Trump, calling the process a “criminal enterprise.”

Graham began: “The first thing I’d like to address is that you have a statement by Mr. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut who’s looking at potential criminal liability regarding this matter; the Attorney General, Barr, and Mr. Horowitz. You have three different views; well, I guess two of the views are that there was no lawful predicate to begin the investigation. I think Mr. Durham says he had more information than Mr. Horowitz; but that’s not my concern right now.”

He continued, “Three lawyers can reasonably disagree and I trust Mr. Horowitz to give an honest view. Let’s assume for a moment there was a lawful predicate; the bar is really low to open up a counterintelligence investigation, and reasonable articulation is a pretty low standard in the law; the point that I want to make is let’s assume for a moment it started out okay — it sure as hell didn’t end okay.”

Then Graham attacked the media for ignoring what he described as the attempt to defraud the FISA court and to target President Trump, saying:

What I see in this report, and nobody’s reported yet — I hope some of you will look — is that while there may be reasonable differences about whether there was a lawful predicate. I believe there will be no debate among reasonable-minded people, particularly lawyers, 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’s constitutional rights and to continue an operation against President Trump as president of the United States. I think it was fundamentally flawed and unlawful.

Graham likened the actions of the FBI under former Director James Comey to the serpentine actions of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover:

These are statements that I don’t make lightly, and these are statements based on the findings of the report. Unfortunately, at the Department of Justice and the FBI there was a period of time when they went back to the good old days of J. Edgar Hoover, where they made stuff up; they misled people.

Graham then got more specific:

So on page 186, it talks about the FBI identifying and interviewing the primary subsource for the Steele dossier. What I want you to understand is that Christopher Steele had a primary subsource, and this person had other people reporting to him, and that formed the basis of the dossier. What did the FBI find in January of 2017? That once they identified the subsource and actually interviewed the subsource, the subsource says —

The primary subsource told the FBI that he/she had not seen Steele’s report until that became public that month and that he/she made statements indicating that Steele misstated or exaggerated the primary subsource statements and multiple sections of reporting. The primary subsource told the FBI that basically this was rumor and speculation, hearsay, bar talk, and he never believed that Steele would use the information provided in any official document.

Graham concluded, “That should have been a red light for the Department of Justice and the FBI.”