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Sen. Cruz: DOJ & FBI Demonstrated Grotesque Abuses of Power

Questions IG Horowitz on three of 17 ‘major errors’ outlined in FISA report

December 11, 2019

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned Inspector General Michael Horowitz on his report regarding alleged abuses by the Department of Justice and FBI of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) against then-candidate Donald Trump.

As an alumnus of the Department of Justice, where he served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Bush, Sen. Cruz said:

"Now, the press has focused on your specific conclusion that you did not find evidence of political bias. That's a judgment you have. I disagree with that judgment. But I think that judgment is in many ways the least significant component of this report. I think the facts that are in this report need to be understood and they should be deeply chilling to anyone who understands the facts in this report, and then people can draw the inference as to why that pattern of abuse occurred."

He added:

"This 434-page report outlines 17 major errors and misstatements that were made by the FBI or DOJ in securing FISA warrants. A number of them are deeply, deeply troubling. These are not typos. These are not small inadvertent errors. These are grotesque abuses of power."

Of the 17 errors and misstatements outlined in the report, Sen. Cruz went on to question IG Horowitz on three of them, including one in which an attorney with the FBI fabricated an email central to the FBI and the DOJ ultimately securing the FISA warrant.

As Sen. Cruz asked:

"The men and women at home need to know what's happening. A lawyer at the FBI creates fraudulent evidence, alters an email that is in turn used as the basis for a sworn statement to the court that the court relies on. Am I stating that accurately?"

To which IG Horowitz responded:

"That's correct. That is what occurred."

Sen. Cruz went on to call the abuse of power by the DOJ and FBI, "the most effective oppo research dump in history":

"The Department of Justice and the FBI did not tell the court that this entire operation was funded by the DNC. It was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and by Democrats. It was an oppo research dump. Look, at some level this was the most effective oppo research dump in history, because the Department of Justice and FBI were perfectly happy to be hatchet men for this oppo research dump."

Sen. Cruz also rejected the claims from his Democratic colleagues that, "the FBI didn't place spies in the Trump campaign":

"So, they didn't place spies in the campaign. But they sent spies to record senior members of the campaign in the middle of a presidential campaign when that candidate was the nominee for the other major party that was the opposing party to the one in power, is that right?"

As IG Horowitz confirmed:

"They sent confidential human sources in to do those."

Sen. Cruz concluded:

"And I can tell you from my time at the Department of Justice, and from my time in law enforcement, any responsible leader when hearing that you're talking about sending in spies, and sending in a wiretap on any presidential nominee should say: ‘What in the hell are we doing?' And by the way, the people up the chain who are saying, ‘we didn't know,' if you had responsible leadership there's no more important decision that you make. I can tell you, when I was at DOJ, if someone said let's tap Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton or John Kerry, the people there would have said, ‘What in the hell are you talking about?' What was going on here? This wasn't Jason Bourne. This was Beavis and Butthead."

Sen. Cruz's full line of questioning may be viewed here and below:

Sen. Cruz: "Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Horowitz, thank you for being here. I want to start by taking the opportunity to thank not only you but the men and women of your team that are gathered here. I think the work that you have done in the Inspector General's Office is incredibly important. Reading this report, this is a 434-page report that lays out what I consider to be a stunning indictment of the FBI and the Department of Justice of a pattern of abuse of power. And I will say both the Department of Justice and the FBI for decades have had a great many honorable, principled professionals with a fidelity to the rule of law. I'm an alumnus of the Department of Justice. This pattern of facts makes me angry and it makes anyone who expects law enforcement to be nonpartisan and faithful to the law -- it should make them angry as well.

"Now, the press has focused on your specific conclusion that you did not find evidence of political bias. That's a judgment you have. I disagree with that judgment. But I think that judgment is in many ways the least significant component of this report. I think the facts that are in this report need to be understood and they should be deeply chilling to anyone who understands the facts in this report, and then people can draw the inference as to why that pattern of abuse occurred."

Chairman Lindsey Graham: "Do you agree with that? Do you agree with what he said?"

IG Horowitz: "The purpose of this report is to lay out the facts for the public and everybody can debate and decide what they think of this information. I absolutely agree."

Sen. Cruz: "This 434-page report outlines 17 major errors and misstatements that were made by the FBI or DOJ in securing FISA warrants. A number of them are deeply, deeply troubling. These are not typos. These are not small inadvertent errors. These are grotesque abuses of power. Let's focus on a couple of them.

"The primary subsource [...] and indeed the first error you note in the second, third and fourth application for the FISA warrant, is that the primary subsource reporting raised serious questions about the accuracy of the Steele dossier, which we know was a bunch of malarkey, to use a term that's been in the news lately. And that the FISA court was not informed of that. Now let's get specifically, so the basis of this Steele report was what's referred to in your report as the primary subsource. That was the principle basis, and the FBI interviewed that primary subsource not one, not twice, but three times in January, March, and May of 2017. So that's the basis of this dossier. What did the primary subsource say? As the OIG report says, the interviews with the subsource raised ‘significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting.' What did the subsource say specifically? As your report goes on to say, it says Steele misstated or exaggerated multiple sections of the reporting. It says that portions of it, particularly the more salacious and sexual portions, were based on ‘rumor and speculation.' It says some of the basis of that came from conversations with ‘friends over beers,' and statements that were made in ‘jest.' And the primary subsource also says to take the other subsources, ‘with a grain of salt.' Now the FBI had that information -- knew that the basis of this dossier was saying it's unreliable. And what did the FBI and DOJ do? In renewal application number two and number three, the FBI advised the court, ‘the FBI found the Russian-based subsource to be truthful and cooperative with zero revisions.' You note that as the most significant misstatement. And that is going in front of a court of law, relying on facts that you know are unreliable without any basis. That was the number one [error].

"The number two major error in the applications was omitting Carter Page's prior relationship. We now have evidence that Carter Page functioned as a source for a United States Intelligence Agency. That's a pretty darn important fact. If you're telling the FISA court, ‘Hey, the fact that this guy, Carter Page -- who I don't know, I don't know this guy Carter Page -- but the fact he's talking to Russians, really suspicious,' well the fact that he's serving as a source for U.S. intelligence agents is pretty darn relevant to why he's talking to Russians. Because we have lots of sources that are talking to bad guys, and when you don't tell the court that, you're deceiving the court. But it's worse than just deceiving the court, because, as the OIG report details, an Assistant General Counsel in the FBI altered an email, fabricated evidence, and reading from the OIG report, ‘specifically the words and not a source had been inserted into the email.' That email then was sent onto the officials responsible for making the decision to go forward. And as the report said, let me read on page 256 of the OIG report the final paragraph, ‘consistent with the Inspector General Act of 1978 and following OIG's discovery that the OGC attorney had altered the email that he sent to the supervising agent who thereafter relied on it to swear out the final FISA application.' So the men and women at home need to know what's happening. A lawyer at the FBI creates fraudulent evidence, alters an email that is in turn used as the basis for a sworn statement to the court that the court relies on. Am I stating that accurately?"

IG Horowitz: "That's correct. That is what occurred."

Sen. Cruz: "Now you who have worked in law enforcement a long time. Is the pattern of a Department of Justice employee altering evidence and submitting fraudulent evidence that ultimately gets submitted to a court, is that commonplace, is that typical?"

IG Horowitz: "I have not seen an alteration of an email end up impacting a court document like this."

Sen. Cruz: "In any ordinary circumstance, if a private citizen did this, fabricated evidence -- and by the way, what he inserted was not just slightly wrong, it was 180-degrees opposite what the evidence said. So the intelligence agency said this guy is a source and he inserted this guy is not a source. If a private citizen did that in any law enforcement investigation -- if they fabricated evidence and reversed what it said, in your experience, would that private citizen be prosecuted for fabricating evidence? Be prosecuted for obstruction of justice? Be prosecuted for perjury?"

IG Horowitz: "They certainly would be considered for that, if there was an intentional effort to deceive the court. On this one, I'm going to defer because, as we noted here in the sentence you indicated, we referred that over to the Attorney General and the FBI Director for handling."

Sen. Cruz: "Third major omission that the Department of Justice and the FBI did not tell the court is that this entire operation was funded by the DNC. It was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and by Democrats. It was an oppo research dump. Look, at some level this was the most effective oppo research dump in history, because the Department of Justice and FBI were perfectly happy to be hatchet men for this oppo research dump. Now, throughout every one of the filings, DOJ and the FBI didn't inform the FISA court that this was being paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, is that right?"

IG Horowitz: "That's not in any of the FISA applications."

Sen. Cruz: "So, they didn't tell the court that. And it's not like DOJ didn't know. Indeed, one of the senior Department of Justice officials, Bruce Ohr, his wife worked at Fusion GPS, the oppo research company being paid by the DNC, and he became the principal liaison with Steele without telling anyone at the Department of Justice that he was essentially working on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

"Who at the Department of Justice was -- and by the way, several Democrats, it's interesting seeing Democratic senators wanting to defend this abuse of power. Several senators said, Senator Feinstein said, and I wrote this down, ‘The FBI didn't place spies in the Trump campaign.' Senator Leahy said something similar. Well, that may be true, not spies in the Trump campaign.

"But reading from your report, in particular, page four of the Executive Summary, your report says: ‘Thereafter the Crossfire Hurricane team used the intrusive techniques including confidential human sources to interact and consensually record multiple conversations with Page and Papadopoulos both before and after they were working for the Trump campaign as well as on one occasion with a high-level Trump campaign official who was not the subject of the investigation.'

"So, they didn't place spies in the campaign. But they sent spies to record senior members of the campaign in the middle of a presidential campaign when that candidate was the nominee for the other major party that was the opposing party to the one in power, is that right?"

IG Horowitz: "They sent confidential human sources in to do those."

Sen. Cruz: "Did anyone at DOJ -- who at DOJ knew about this? Did the Attorney General know about this? Did the White House know about this?"

IG Horowitz: "Based on what we found, nobody had been told in advance."

Sen. Cruz: "But once it was happening did they know?"

IG Horowitz: "They did not. The only evidence that somebody knew were the line attorneys in NSD, the National Security Division, when they were told very selective portions of what had occurred. Nobody knew beforehand. Nobody had been briefed. And frankly, that was one of the most concerning things here is that nobody needed to be told."

Sen. Cruz: "And I can tell you from my time at the Department of Justice, and from my time in law enforcement, any responsible leader when hearing that you're talking about sending in spies, and sending in a wiretap on any presidential nominee should say: ‘What in the hell are we doing?' And by the way, the people up the chain who are saying, ‘we didn't know,' if you had responsible leadership there's no more important decision that you make. I can tell you, when I was at DOJ, if someone said let's tap Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton or John Kerry, the people there would have said, ‘What in the hell are you talking about?' What was going on here? This wasn't Jason Bourne. This was Beavis and Butthead."

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