With President Trump the apparent loser of this year’s election, Sen. Lindsey Graham cranked up the time machine on Capitol Hill Tuesday to dive back into the the FBI’s investigation of the 2016 election.
The South Carolina senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he’s determined to figure out how and why the FBI launched its “Crossfire Hurricane” probe of the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, on a probe of the FBI’s Russia investigation. (Susan Walsh/)
The investigation — which eventually led to the appointment of Special Council Robert Mueller — got rolling in the summer of 2016 after the FBI learned a Trump adviser appeared to have advance knowledge that Russia was hacking email accounts of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.
A Department of Justice’s Inspector General report concluded that the probe was properly launched and showed no evidence of political bias.
But Graham focused on later failures, such as the IG’s finding that agents left out evidence that would help another Trump adviser, Carter Page, while getting follow-up surveillance warrants.
Graham told fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Tuesday that someone needed to pay for those missteps.
Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe appears remotely during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, on a probe of the FBI’s Russia investigation. (Jason Andrew/The New York Times via AP, Pool) (Jason Andrew/)
“The purpose of the hearing is to make sure that we find answers to how the system failed so it doesn’t fail again,” Graham told McCabe. “We will continue, in spite of my Democratic colleagues’ protestations. We’re going to find somebody accountable for something when it comes to Crossfire Hurricane.”
McCabe had no new answers to give, but made clear that he had no regrets about the investigation, and insisted there was indication of a federal crime or a threat to national security.
“We had both: Russian intelligence services attacking our democratic process, possibly in coordination with the president’s campaign,” McCabe said. “We opened the case to investigate and try to mitigate that threat, and to find out what the Russians might have done.”
Democrats complained repeatedly that Graham was holding the hearing — his fourth of the year on the topic — when there was plenty more recents topics to examine, such as Attorney General Bill Barr’s unprecedented memo this week saying prosecutors could investigate the 2020 election results.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee that we sit on here hasn’t held a single oversight hearing on the Trump administration’s Justice Department in this Congress,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. “Any issues we might want to raise? I can think of a few.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, on a probe of the FBI’s Russia investigation. (Susan Walsh/)
But Graham was laser focused on the Obama administration, particularly singling out the fact that the Obama-era FBI didn’t warn Trump his campaign might have Russian moles.
McCabe said they didn’t want to tip off a possible suspect.
“We typically don’t provide defensive briefings when we feel that they could run the risk of compromising the investigations that we’re undertaking,” he said.
Graham was also irate about information released by Trump’s Director of National Intelligence just before this election that the CIA told the FBI in 2016 that it had information from Russian intelligence that Hillary Clinton hoped to link Trump to Russia.
McCabe said he never got that information, and Democrats scoffed at its relevance.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said information suggesting Clinton’s campaign might have wanted to link Trump to Russia doesn’t begin to compare to intelligence that Trump advisers were in actual contact with Russian operatives.
“When you have a campaign making its internal campaign policy to try to say either, well, Biden’s too close to China, and you can’t trust him, or Trump’s too close to Russia, and you can’t trust him, I don’t think the FBI has a lot of business interfering in that,” Whitehouse said.
McCabe was fired based on a separate Inspector General report, which he is fighting in court.
Source: Daily News