Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has concluded with a report stating clearly that there was no coordination between Russia and any American in the 2016 campaign. But that’s not the end of the investigations.
Senate side, Lindsey Graham, head of the powerful Judiciary Committee, announced he’s kicking off an investigation into possible abuses by intelligence officials.
He spoke with “Full Measure” host Sharyl Attkisson about it:
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I’m gonna try to find out how this all started. Mueller told us there’s no collusion. Well, how did the whole idea of collusion begin with? Mueller told us there was no obstruction of justice. I’m going to find out how this got so off the rails and hold those accountable who started this mess. The counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign. How did it start? When they found out somebody in Dianne Feinstein’s office may be working with the Chinese government to a counterintelligence investigation, they called Dianne and said, “you got a problem,” and she took care of it. That’s what the law requires. They never told Trump that “You may have a problem with people connected to Russia.” Why?
ATTKISSON: What do you think?
GRAHAM: I think they wanted to get into his campaign using counterintelligence as the way to do it. I think they didn’t really believe there was collusion. They just wanted to get into the Trump world. I don’t think they really believed Carter Page was an agent working for the Russians who happened to be hired by the Trump campaign. I think they were setting the Trump campaign up, leaking this information out to make it seem like they believed they were doing something they weren’t because they wanted her to win and him to lose. And if you want her to win, how do you indict her for mishandling classified information? If you or I did what she did with classified information, we’d be in jail.
ATTKISSON: Is Attorney General Barr going to appoint another Special Counsel?
GRAHAM: I don’t know, but he’s going to take it seriously. He’s very upset about what he’s seen. He believes it was very unprofessional and his, he cares about the reputation of the Department of Justice.
ATTKISSON: He’s told you this, you’ve met with him?
GRAHAM: Yeah. I mean the FBI director wants to start over and the only way you’re gonna get a clean bill of health is for somebody to look and see how it got off the rails.
ATTKISSON: With the House, run by Democrats, on its track still looking at Trump and Russia and the Senate, run by Republicans, looking at these alleged surveillance abuses perhaps used against president Trump and his associates How does one convince the American public -or is it necessary to do so- that this isn’t just political tit for tat?
GRAHAM: See, that’s the point. I think most reasonable people believe that Mueller was fair. I stood by Mueller, I’ve known him for 20 years. I thought he would be fair. At the end of the day, he found no collusion and no obstruction of justice. Bottom line is that should be the end of looking at the Trump campaign. And if Democrats keep going, they’re going to look like Oliver Stone trying to find the person who shot Kennedy. At the end of the day, that should be the definitive answer toward the Trump campaign. What I’m trying to tell the American people is nobody has had that kind of scrutiny to the 2016 other side of the story. Nobody has looked at the FISA warrant application process to see if it was rigged. I’m going to do that, but I’m a politician. I’m going to try to find ways to fix the system so it doesn’t happen again. But I want somebody like Mueller to look at the potential abuses of the other side so we can close the records in the book on 2016. Until you find that person, Republicans believe and I think rightly so, that there’s plenty of evidence that department of Justice and the FBI wanted Clinton to win and Trump to lose and they took the law in their own hands, and that should scare everybody.
ATTKISSON: When do you think we’ll know whether the Attorney General is going to appoint a Special Counsel or how he plans to proceed?
GRAHAM: Probably sooner rather than later. He’s going to be before the committee May the first to testify about the Mueller report. That will be up to him, but I’m confident he is going to have somebody look into the other side of the story. Somebody to look at the FISA warrant abuse, somebody to look and see if a counterintelligence operation was a, was a backdoor way to get in the Trump campaign, and somebody to look and see how they treat Clinton versus an average American. Now whether that’s a Special Counsel or in-house, I’m sure he’s going to do it. I just don’t know when.
Graham opened Wednesday’s hearing about the Mueller report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race by announcing his plans to investigate Obama administration law enforcement officials’ targeting of President Trump’s campaign.
“I can’t say I’ve read it all,” Graham said, holding up a paper copy of the report. “The bottom line is we’re about to hear from Mr. Barr the results of a two-year investigation into the Trump campaign, all things Russia, the actions the president took before and after the campaign, $25 million, 40 FBI agents. I appreciate very much what Mr. Mueller did for the country. I have read most of the report. For me, it is over.”
“Once the Mueller report is put to bed, and it will be soon, this committee is going to look long and hard at how all of this started,” Graham said. “We’re going to look at the FISA warrant process. Did Russia provide Christopher Steele the information about Trump, that turned out to be garbage, that was used to get a warrant on an American citizen and if so, how did the system fail? Was there a real effort between Papadopoulos and anybody in Russia to use the Clinton e-mails stolen by the Russians, or is that thought planted in his mind? I don’t know, but we’re going to look.”
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