Graham: FBI director committed to holding officials accountable who broke law at origin of Russia probe

Graham's committee is investigating the origins of the Russia probe, including abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Thursday said FBI Director Christopher Wray is committed to “holding accountable” those who may have violated the law in the origins of the Russia probe “sooner rather than later.”

Graham, R-S.C., whose committee is investigating the origins of the Russia probe, including abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment, the unmasking process, said he spoke with Wray Thursday morning.

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“I had a very good discussion this morning with FBI Director Wray about providing witnesses and documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee related to our oversight of Crossfire Hurricane, related FISA abuses and the subsequent Mueller investigation,” Graham said in a statement.

Wray is “committed to being helpful -- in an appropriate manner -- by balancing the needs of privacy for bureau employees with public transparency for the benefit of the American people,” Grahm added.

And Wray will be deferential to criminal investigations conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham, Grahm said.

Graham’s comments come amid several congressional probes into the origins of the Russia investigation, and as Durham conducts a similar investigation.

Earlier this week, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., subpoenaed the FBI and Wray for documents related to his panel's Russia probe.

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Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr appointed Durham last year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s original Russia probe, which began in July 2016, through the appointment of Mueller in May 2017, shortly after Mueller completed his years-long investigation into whether his campaign colluded or coordinated with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election, though the question of whether Trump obstructed justice was left open in the final report.

Barr, earlier this summer, said Durham’s probe will likely yield "developments" before summer is over, despite delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But President Trump on Thursday said he hopes Durham is “not going to be politically correct” and warned that Barr could go down as “the greatest attorney general” or just “an average guy” — depending on what comes out of the months-long probe.

“I hope he’s doing a great job, and I hope they’re not going to be politically correct,” Trump said. “Obama knew everything. Vice President Biden, as dumb as he may be, knew everything, and everybody else knew.”

The president accused several high level government officials of lying to Congress, including former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“And Comey, and Brennan, and Clapper, they were all terrible, they lied to Congress,” Trump said.

And he accused them of espionage and treason.

“They spied on my campaign, which is treason,” he continued. “They spied, both before and after I won, using the intelligence apparatus of the United States to take down a president, a legally elected president, a duly elected president of the United States. It is the single biggest political crime in the history of our country.”

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The president said Attorney General William Barr's legacy is riding on the outcome of the investigation.

“Bill Barr can go down as the greatest attorney general in the history of our country, or he can go down as an average guy," Trump said. "We’ll see what happens."

The president said the probe will lead investigators to the top of the former Democratic adminsistraion.

“They have all the answers,” Trump said. “It goes all to Obama, and it goes right to Biden.”

Barr, though, has said that he does not expect Durham's findings will lead to a “criminal investigation” of either former President Barack Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden -- while noting that their concern of “potential criminality” in the conduct of that probe is “focused on others.”

Barr, earlier this year, said that “not every abuse of power, no matter how outrageous, is necessarily a federal crime.”

“As for President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement based on what I know, I don’t expect Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr said. “Our concern of potential criminality is focused on others.”

Meanwhile, Graham’s committee, earlier this summer, authorized subpoenas for any documents, communications and testimony from current and former officials, including McCabe, Ohr, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, former FBI officials Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, James Baker and Bill Priestap, among others.

Last month, Graham said he “absolutely” will call former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to testify before his panel as part of its ongoing investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.