After meeting with Attorney General William Barr, Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he is certain the inspector general report on alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses will “prove that the system got off the rails.”
Graham, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, received an update from Barr on Wednesday about the classification review of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report.
He told Fox News host Martha MacCallum that the report “is about done” and afterward expects to bring Horowitz before the committee “to talk about what he’s found in terms of FISA intelligence abuse in the counterinvestigation of the Trump campaign.”
“I think his report is going to be stunning. I think it is going to be damning. I think it’s going to prove that the system got off the rails and we need corrective action. Where I go from there I won’t know until I hear from him,” he said.
Horowitz announced in mid-September the completion of his year-and-a-half investigation into whether federal officials abused the FISA process to obtain warrants to surveil onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. He provided a draft copy of the report to the Justice Department and the FBI for the classification review, and a public copy of the report is expected to be released to the public at about Thanksgiving or later.
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham has become a leading figure demanding changes be made so that Americans’ rights are protected. He said last month that the FISA court needs to “take corrective action” after being “misled” by the DOJ and the FBI, or else “we need to probably do away” with it. Page, who left the Trump campaign before the first FISA warrant was granted in October 2016, is an American citizen who was never charged as a part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Graham, who has used descriptors such as “ugly” and “damning” in raising expectations for the findings in Horowitz’s report, pledged to do a “deep dive” of his own into FISA, which will run concurrently with U.S. Attorney John Durham’s now criminal investigation of the early stages of the Russia investigation.
Republicans argue top Justice Department and FBI officials misled the FISA court by using an unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele to obtain warrants to electronically monitor Page. Democrats, as well as current and former FBI officials, have dismissed the allegations of wrongdoing during the Trump-Russia investigation and are concerned that Durham’s review of the early stages of the Russia investigation may be an effort to discredit the work of Mueller and deface the president’s political rivals.
Graham said on Wednesday he trusted Mueller’s work to far, but accused the Democrats of playing dirty in their handling of Mueller’s investigation and the impeachment inquiry in comparison to Horowitz’s efforts.
“This whole process in the House is driven by bipartisan politicians who hate Trump’s guts. That’s the big difference between Mueller and Horowitz,” he said.