Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, railed against the media's takeaways from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's recently released Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) report.
In a freewheeling speech Wednesday to kick off the committee's hearing on FBI abuses, Graham said that Crossfire Hurricane – a covert counterintelligence investigation by the FBI into suspected coordination between President Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russian government's meddling in the election – was "probably the best name ever given to an investigation in the history of investigations" because, he exclaimed, "that's what we wound up with: a crossfire and a hurricane."
Horowitz's probe determined that the FBI complied with policies in launching the politically explosive review, but also flagged "significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised."
Graham said that prior to and after the release of Horowitz's findings on Monday, there were "a lot of media reports" with headlines that missed the mark on what conclusions should be drawn.
"I remember reading all these headlines. 'Lawful investigation with a few irregularities.' 'Everything OK, low-level people kind of got off track.' If that's what you get out of this report, you clearly didn't read it," he said.
"If that's your takeaway, that this thing was lawfully predicated, and that's the main point, you missed the entire report," Graham said, exasperated. "How do you get a headline like that?" he asked. "That's what you want it to be. You want it to be that and nothing more."
"And, I can assure you, if this had been a Democratic president going through what President Trump had gone through, that would not have been the headline," he continued. "The headline would be, 'The FBI takes law into its own hands: Biased agents cut corners, lie to the court, ignore exoneration.'"
Addressing the American public, Graham said that his goal is to "make sure that people, when this is over – whether you like Trump, hate Trump, don't care about Trump – you look at this as more than a few irregularities."
"Because, if this becomes a few irregularities, then God help us all," he warned.