Former Deputy AG testifies he was misled by FBI
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions about his role in the Crossfire Hurricane operation that is now under federal investigation.
Rosenstein gained attention after a two-year inspector general investigation that found substantial mistakes, errors and omissions in how the justice department conducted the Russian interference probe of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Among the infractions cited by Inspector General Michael Horowitz was a warrant on peripheral Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsay Graham asked Rosenstein about that warrant.
Graham: “You signed a warrant application in June of 2017 to get the Carter Page warrant renewed. Is that correct?”
Graham: “Have you looked at the Horowitz report?”
Graham: “If you knew then what you know now would you have signed that warrant application?”
Rosenstein: “No. I would not have.”
Page had in fact had contact with Russians in years prior to the campaign but it is now known that it was on behalf of the CIA. The CIA also informed the FBI on at least two occasions that Page was working on its behalf when he made the contacts with the Russians.
Graham expressed frustration over the continued renewal of secret wiretap warrants to spy on Page even after it should have been obvious to FBI investigators there was no evidence of criminal activity.
Graham: “I can’t stress enough to the country that he found, the most egregious of all, the [Steele] dossier, was the only reason the Carter Page warrant was issued to begin with. And in January 2017, the man who provided Steele with all the information told the FBI it was a bunch of garbage and they used it twice more [to obtain secret wiretap warrants]. What kind of country is this?”
Rosenstein also told the committee that former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe had deceived him about the dossier: “I believe that Mr. McCabe was not fully candid with me. He wasn’t forthcoming.”
Judiciary Committee Member Senator Mike Crapo appeared on Fox News Channel with anchor Bill Hemmer to discuss the hearing’s findings:
“The three big takeaways from the hearing today is one, Russians did try to interfere in our election but no American conspired with them. Secondly, bias was clearly established. And third, Rosenstein said that had he known about the bias and extensive violations of law and policy he would not have signed the FISA warrant application.”
Crapo, also referencing the inspector general report, said that there is still a lot that the committee needs to know in order to complete its own investigation:
“The IG found seventeen serious violations and stated that it was inexplicable he did not have an explanation and neither did Mr. Rosenstein today. Crossfire Hurricane engaged in an investigation of the President of the United States on false and, in one case, criminally altered evidence so that they could continue these investigations.”
The Committee will meet again Thursday morning. Crapo said he expects that the committee will vote to authorize Chairman Graham to issue fifty or more subpoenas as part of its investigation.
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