Sen. Lindsay Graham didn’t specifically mention Christopher Wray in his Sunday interview with FOX NEWS’ Maria Bartiromo, but I couldn’t help thinking about Wray while listening to what Graham had to say.
To set the scene, Graham was on the show to talk about the questioning of Rod Rosenstein last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which Rosenstein claimed not to have been aware that the Steele “dossier” was discredited by Steele’s own sub-source. Rosenstein said that McCabe had not been “fully candid” with him. (McCabe fired back a statement refuting the notion that he had “misled” Rosenstein, going so far as to say that “Mr. Rosenstein approved of and suggested ways to enhance our investigation of the President.” Perhaps this is a veiled reference to the story about Rosenstein talking about wearing a wire.)
Anyway, as you know, Rosenstein said he didn’t know the underlying documentation had been altered to hide the fact that Carter Page had worked for the FBI; that, of course, is a criminal act. He also claimed not to have known that the “dossier” was repeatedly disavowed, over a three-day interrogation in January 2017, by Steele’s Russian sub-source.
This appears to be some serious CYA on the part of Rosenstein, who signed the final renewal of the Carter Page FISA warrant in August of 2017. As the senator rightly pointed out, “...If anyone signs this warrant application knowing that the Russian sub-source disavowed the reliability of the Steele ‘dossier’ and that the Department of State lawyer altered email –- if they knew that, they would be going to jail themselves.”
Graham vowed that both McCabe and Comey will “eventually” be called before the Judiciary Committee, as he finds it “hard to believe” that neither of them knew about what the Russian sub-source had said about the “dossier” in January. (Try “impossible to believe.”)
The FISA renewal that Rosenstein signed said that the Russian sub-source was “truthful and cooperative.” It was Inspector General Michael Horowitz who found the memo on the interview with the sub-source that said this person had disavowed the “dossier,” saying it wasn’t reliable, nothing more than hearsay and casual “bar talk.” Graham said he plans to call “every person who signed that warrant” and have them testify as to what they knew about the “dossier.”
Importantly, he said they wouldn’t let some “low-level intel analyst or case agent” take the blame for defrauding the court. If it can be proved that higher-ups were warned and kept going forward anyway, then they’re in big trouble, and we’re talking prison. “I believe it goes up to the very top,” he said. “They’re ALL gonna come before the committee...”
Note that he did not specifically mention President Obama; he has said previously that this would not be happening. In other words, if by “the very top” Graham means Obama, it’s going to have to come out through some form of documentation (unlikely) or testimony from somebody else. If it can’t be proved in a court of law, we’ll all just have to come to our own conclusions about his guilt.
Now, here’s the part that made me wonder yet again what is going on with Wray: Sen. Graham wants to interview those case agents who spoke directly with Steele’s sub-source, and he has “asked” to do so. “I made a request to interview the case agent and the intel analyst, two other people who interviewed the sub-source for three days in January , again in March, again in May, and THEY’RE DENYING ME THE ABILITY TO DO THAT. [Emphasis mine.] I’m gonna keep working the system. Attorney General Barr has been the most transparent attorney general in my lifetime. [Then-acting Director of National Intelligence Ric] Grenell released a lot of information. But why did they run all these stop signs?”
The big question is –- and I think we all know the answer –- did this begin and end with some decisions made by “two or three people” who failed to pass along exculpatory information, or was it “a system out of control”? It certainly appears that the people at the top wanted to keep the “Trump/Russia” investigation going no matter what; in fact, we KNOW this is true in the prosecution of Lt. Gen. Flynn.
The reason why Sen. Graham was being DENIED ACCESS to those lower-level agents was not addressed on the show; maybe it was because of time constraints. But this was an internal FBI matter; FBI Director Wray should be able to snap his fingers and give the Senate Judiciary Committee, in their oversight capacity, access to those officials to determine their roles in this and find out who they told about any problems with the evidence. Graham shouldn’t have to go higher to get the go-ahead to talk to those agents, but he does, apparently to Attorney General Barr. This looks like one more big black mark for Wray, one more reason why he is absolutely the wrong person for that job.
The “get-Trump” investigation may not have had any roadblocks, but the attempt to get to the bottom of it certainly still does.
Kimberly Strassel had a great a piece in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, “Rod Rosenstein Knew Nothing,” on Rosenstein and his total lack of curiosity (ha) about the evidence in one of the most significant cases in FBI history. “In three hours of testimony,” Strassel wrote, “the country got a glimpse at the depths of the FBI’s underhandedness and the failure of leadership that enabled it.”
It’s behind a paywall (Strassel’s columns are well worth it), but Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan talked about it over the weekend with Judge Jeanine Pirro.
Jordan reminded us of the constant pressure in the spring of 2017 from Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) to appoint a special counsel. “Remember, every Democrat wanted to do it,” he said to Judge Pirro, “wanted to keep going after the President. Everyone in the media wanted to do it. And there were a bunch of Republicans who wanted to do it.”
But at the time FBI Director James Comey was fired, May 9, Comey was asked if there was anything “there.” He said they didn’t know. Rosenstein appointed Mueller on May 17. What, pray tell, was discovered in those few days in the way of evidence that Trump conspired with Russia? Answer: NOTHING. Rosenstein appointed a special counsel and gave it carte blanche for almost two years not because of any evidence but because of political pressure. This was ALL political.
As for the story about Rosenstein talking about wearing a wire, which he now denies doing, we now have conflicting accounts to sort out. Just don’t tell me that someone who would open a purely political investigation on the President of the United States is above doing something like that.