Fact Check: Did Rosenstein Do His Job?
(RightWing.org) – The FBI has claimed its agents followed all the correct procedures when they applied for FISA warrants against former Trump aide Carter Page. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, June 3, and his testimony gives us a chance to fact-check just how closely those procedures were followed.
- Rosenstein was the man who signed the renewal of the FISA warrant authorizing FBI surveillance on Page. Without that authorization, much of the so-called “evidence” used to support Russian collusion claims would never have been collected.
- The first point to emerge from Rosenstein’s testimony is that due diligence throughout the process, from both the FBI and the Department of Justice, was atrocious. Investigating the president is a grave matter, and we have a right to expect that it’s done properly. That didn’t happen.
- Rosenstein defended his handling of the investigation, claiming that “every application I approved appeared to be justified based on the facts it alleged.” However, he doesn’t seem to have made any effort to verify these facts.
- Several times, Rosenstein admitted he was unaware of evidence that contradicted allegations made in the warrants. Most seriously, he didn’t know that there was evidence invalidating many of the claims made against the former National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
- This is probably because Rosenstein admitted he’s “not sure” he actually read the whole application. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) said the fact Rosenstein didn’t read the whole document but signed it off anyway, is “stunning.”
- Rosenstein also appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation. Mueller eventually concluded there was no evidence of criminal conspiracy or collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
- However, it’s now emerged that Rosenstein was pressured into appointing Mueller by former FBI director James Comey, who leaked selected memos to ensure a special counsel would be assigned.
- Sen. Lee told the hearing “the fact that what was in [the application] was incomplete” led to “a serious breakdown” of FISA, and said he was committed to reforming the law. Last month, the Senate passed an amendment, co-sponsored by Lee, that’ll force the FISA court to appoint neutral third-party observers in future cases.
- It’s clear this amendment was urgently needed because the existing procedures allowed a dishonest application filed by politically-motivated agents to slip through the gaps. Rod Rosenstein didn’t do his job properly – but he wasn’t the only one.
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