Rosenstein Tells Senate He Would Not Have Signed Carter Page Warrant Application If He Had Full Information
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday told senators that he would not have signed a warrant application asking a court to authorize surveillance of a Trump campaign aide had he known all of the facts, adding that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe had not been “fully candid” with him.
“If you knew then what you know now, would you have signed the warrant application?” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Rosenstein during a committee hearing. “No, I would not,” Rosenstein replied.
In a December 2019 report, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz identified 17 violations associated with the FBI’s process in seeking applications to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Those violations included the alteration of a document by FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who is now reportedly under criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham. Rosenstein said that was part of the reason he would not sign off on the warrant application today.
Rosenstein also denied that McCabe had “lied” to him, but said he had not been “candid” in disclosing all of the facts of the case, failing to disclose the fact that former FBI Director James Comey had retained documents detailing his interactions with the presidents. “McCabe did not reveal those to me for at least a week after he became acting director, despite the fact that he had repeated conversations focusing on this investigation,” Rosenstein said. “For whatever reason, Mr. McCabe was not forthcoming with me about that.”
Sparks flew again later in the hearing when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pinned blame on the Obama administration. “The Department of Justice, the FBI and the intelligence community and the decision-making ability to do so went right up to the very top,” Cruz said, noting James Comey was “sitting in the Oval Office with Barack Obama and Joe Biden.” He said the situation “makes everything Richard Nixon even contemplated pale in comparison.”
The comparison prompted Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to fire back, saying Obama had left the White House “with grace and dignity.”
“I would like to let the record reflect that this comparison is not only wrong today between Richard Nixon and Barack Obama, it will never stand the test of time,” Klobuchar added.
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