EXCLUSIVE: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Friday released a slew of additional documents and transcripts related to his panel’s investigation into the origins and aftermath of the Trump-Russia probe, calling the original probe "one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ."
The first investigation – which looked into whether members of President Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the election – was called "Crossfire Hurricane" Graham, the senior Republican senator from South Carolina, released transcripts of interviews with FBI and Justice Department officials conducted by the committee, between March 3, 2020 and October 29, 2020.
"I consider the Crossfire Hurricane investigation a massive system failure by senior leadership, but not representative of the dedicated, hardworking patriots who protect our nation every day at Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice," Graham said in a statement Friday, saying his committee has released "as much material as possible," but noted that "some classified material has still been withheld."
Calling the "Crossfire Hurricane" operation "one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ," Graham also said he "appreciates all those who participated in the depositions and their candor. "They have charted a path to allow us to reform the system."
"The FISA court was lied to. Exculpatory information was withheld on those being investigated. The investigators, with some notable exceptions, were incredibly biased and used the powers of law enforcement for political purposes," Graham said. "The subjects of the investigation had their lives turned upside down. It is my hope that counterintelligence investigations will be reined in and this never happens again in America."
Graham slammed the leadership of the FBI under former Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, saying it was "either grossly incompetent" or said "they knowingly allowed tremendous misdeeds."
"There was a blind eye turned toward any explanation other than the Trump campaign was colluding with foreign powers," he continued. "At every turn the FBI and DOJ ran stop signs that were in abundance regarding exculpatory information."
Also receiving the ire of the four-term senator was the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which issued warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Graham called that acting "a travesty" and noted that former DOJ officials who signed those warrants, such former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, "have acknowledged that if they knew then what they know now, they would not have signed it."
Ultimately Graham said of Crossfire Hurricane, "There was no ‘there’ there," and contends that the "investigation was pushed when it should have been stopped and the only logical explanation is that the investigators wanted an outcome because of their bias."
Graham said he would continue to pursue reforms of counterintelligence investigations and warrant applications, and said he hopes his "Democratic and Republican colleagues can find common ground on these matters," while also urging FBI Director Wray to "continue the reforms he has started."
"It is hard to believe that something like Crossfire Hurricane could have happened in America," Graham said. "The bottom line is that going forward we must have more checks and balances when it comes to political investigations. We must have more meaningful sign-offs on warrant applications, and we need to restore the trust to the American people in this system."
Meanwhile, former Attorney General Bill Barr tapped U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham as special counsel to ensure he could continue his investigation into the origins of the Russia probe through the Biden administration.
Durham was appointed by Barr last year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe, shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller completed his yearlong investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded 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.