Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified in front of Congress that had he understood how faulty the evidence was, he would not have signed off on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant renewal to spy on former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham asked Rosenstein “if you knew then what you know now, would you have signed the application?” Rosenstein replied, “no, I would not.”
Rosenstein continued to defend himself, however, saying “every application I approved appeared to be justified based on the facts it alleged.” Instead, he put the blame on the FBI, which “was supposed to be following protocols to ensure that every fact was verified.”
When the testimony turned towards the topic of the Mueller report, Rosenstein once again defended his actions. “I decided that appointing a Special Counsel was the best way to complete the investigation appropriately and promote public confidence in its conclusions,” he said. Once again turning to the FBI, Rosenstein said: “I asked the Special Counsel to review each criminal allegation the FBI considered relevant to Russian election influence operations and recommended whether to close the matter; investigate because it might be relevant to Russian election meddling; or refer the matter to another prosecutor.”
December 2019 the Justice Department’s inspector general’s report determined that in the FBI’s requests for surveillance warrants to spy on Page, they failed to tell the FISA court how unreliable the Steele Dossier was, which they relied on heavily for their warrant applications.
As a memory refresher, the Steele dossier was put together by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Steele was hired by an opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, to investigate Donald Trump and any connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Fusion GPS was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Despite evidence of direct political bias, “the inspector general did not say the FISA court should have declined to grant the warrants and nevertheless concluded that political bias did not compromise the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation” reported National Review.