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Graham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation

The Hill logo The Hill 2/14/2020 Jordain Carney
Lindsey Graham wearing a suit and tie: Graham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation © Aaron Schwartz Graham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is requesting interviews with a slew of current and former Justice Department and FBI officials as part of his panel's probe into the department's handling of the investigation into Russia's election interference and the Trump campaign.

Graham sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Friday asking that he make 17 officials, many of whom are identified only by title, available for interviews.

"As you are aware, the committee is continuing to investigate matters related to the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's handling of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, including the application for, and renewals of, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] warrant on Carter Page," Graham wrote in the letter, according to a copy obtained by CBS News.

Graham notes in his letter that the committee will "additionally be directly contacting former Department officials to schedule transcribed interviews."

Graham has said he plans to call former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to testify as part of his investigation.

Graham, a top ally of Trump's, has vowed he will use his gavel to look into the origins of the Russia investigation and the decision to surveil Page, a former campaign aide.

"I'm going to get to the bottom of the FISA work process because it was an abuse of power of the Department of Justice, the FBI," Graham told CBS News on Sunday.

Graham added he would be doing "oversight of the FISA warrant system that failed."

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a damning report late last year on the Page warrant application process. Horowitz wrote that there was no evidence of political bias in the decision to open the investigation and that the bureau had an "authorized purpose" for the probe. But he also found 17 "significant inaccuracies and omissions" throughout the FBI's investigation.

Horowitz, during testimony before the Judiciary Committee, declined to say if he thought the FISA warrant applications on Page would have been accepted if the court knew everything the inspector general found during his investigation.

He also specifically said he personally would not have submitted the FISA warrant applications as they were originally drafted and submitted by the FBI.

"It had no business going in," Horowitz said.

A FISA court judge took the rare step of publicly criticizing the FBI late last year, calling the bureau's handling of the Page application as "antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above."

"The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable," federal Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in an order.

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