Rep. Jordan Presses FBI Director to Release FISA Application for Trump Surveillance
Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) drew blood this morning during his pointed questioning of FBI Director Christopher Wray at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
Jordan's line of questioning concerned Peter Strzok, who was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team last July after he became a political liability to Mueller's investigation. Jordan was particularly interested in seeing the FBI's application to the FISA court that allowed the Obama administration to surveil the Trump campaign.
As Jordan pointed out, it was Strzok who changed the criminal term “gross negligence” to the legally inconsequential “extreme carelessness” in former FBI Director James Comey’s statement of findings on Hillary Clinton’s email server. Strzok also played a key role in Mueller's Russia investigation.
"The same Peter Strzok that we learned this past weekend was removed from the special counsel team because he exchanged text messages with a colleague at the FBI that ... displayed a pro-Clinton bias?" Jordan asked.
Wray answered in the affirmative.
“Well here’s what I’m not getting," Jordan continued. "Peter Strozk is selected to be on Mueller’s team -- after all this history, put on Mueller’s team -- and then he’s removed for some pro-Clinton text messages. I mean there are all kinds of people on Mueller’s team who are pro-Clinton.”
Jordan pointed out that the vast majority of Mueller’s investigators are Democratic donors.
"Politifact reported 96% of the top lawyers' contributions went to Clinton or Obama," he said. "But Peter Strzok, the guy who ran the Clinton investigation, interviewed Mills, Abedin, interviewed Secretary Clinton, changed "gross negligence" -- a crime -- to the term "extreme carelessness," ran the Russia investigation, who interviewed Mike Flynn, gets put on Mueller's team, and then he gets kicked off for a text message that's anti-Trump."
He paused dramatically.
“If you kicked everybody off Mueller’s team who was anti-Trump, I don’t think there’d be anybody left,” he exclaimed.
"It can’t just be some text messages … there’s got to be something more. And I’m trying to figure out what it is. But my hunch is, it has something to do with the dossier.”
“Director, did Peter Strozk help produce and present the application to the FISA court to secure a warrant to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign?” Jordan asked.
Wray said he was not prepared to discuss applications tied to the FISA process, but Jordan pressed on. We're not talking about the FISA court but what the FBI took to the court -- the application, he said.
Jordan -- and later the Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte -- argued that the application was not secret or privileged information. But Wray insisted that he could not discuss it.
Jordan offered his own theory. “Let’s remember a couple of things about the dossier,” he said. “The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign -- which we now know were one and the same -- paid the law firm who paid Fusion GPS who paid Christopher Steele who then paid Russians to put together a report that we call a dossier full of all kinds of fake news, National Enquirer garbage, and it’s been reported that this dossier was all dressed up by the FBI, taken to the FISA court and presented as a legitimate intelligence document -- that it became the basis for granting a warrant to spy on Americans.”