Inspector General Report Hearing Transcript: Michael Horowitz Testifies on FBI’s Findings - transcription powered by Happy Scribe

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A chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, is speaking. Let's go to that for the country and Mr. Hall, as I'm dying to hear from you. But I bet I haven't made 20 minutes of opening statements in a year. I'm take a little bit longer to try to lay out what I think is before us as a nation. CROSSFIRE hurricane was probably the best name ever given to an investigation in the history of investigations go south.

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That's what we wound up with, a crossfire in a hurricane. There's been a lot of media reports about your report before it was issued. And I remember reading all these headlines, lawful investigation with a few irregularities.

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Everything okay? Low level people kind of got off track, if that's what you get out of this report. You clearly didn't read it. If that's your takeaway that this thing was lawfully predicated. And that's the main point. You missed the entire report. How do you get a headline like that? That's what you want it to be. You want it to be that and nothing more. And I can assure you, if this had been a Democratic president going through what President Trump had gone through, that would not have been the headline.

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The headline would be The FBI takes law and its own hands, biased agents, cut corners, lie to court, ignore exoneration. So the first thing I want you to know is how the cake is baked here, and my goal is to make sure that people when this is over, whether you like Trump, hate Trump, don't care about Trump.

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You look at this as more than a few irregularities. Because if this becomes a few irregularities in America, then God help us all. Now, the people that were in charges in this investigation were hand-picked. By Mr. McCabe, who is now CNN analyst. High up in the FBI, the number two guy. The first question I will ask in a bit. Is this the best of the best? Are these people normal representatives of the Department of Justice and the FBI?

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I hope you will say no. Gus, I believe it to be no. And if I believed otherwise, I would be incredibly depressed. So, ladies and gentlemen. I'm going to assume something for the sake of argument. That there was a lawful predicate to open up a counterintelligence investigation. And I want you to know the standard to open one up is about like that. And I also want you to know a counter-intelligence investigation is not a criminal investigation.

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They're not trying to solve a crime. They're trying to stop foreign powers. From interfering in America. That a counterintelligence investigation is designed to protect Americans from foreign influence. I want the American people to know there was an effort to affect Hillary Clinton's campaign by foreign actors. The FBI picked up that effort. They briefed her about it and they were able to stop it. We will be receiving a defensive briefing tomorrow as a committee from the FBI to tell us all about what we should be watching for, and they may be some specific threats against us.

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I don't know, but I know they're going to brief us to protect us, not to surveil us. And here's what I want every American to know from the time they opened up CROSSFIRE hurricane. So this debacle was over. They never made any effort to brief Donald Trump about suspected problems within his campaign.

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They had one briefing talking about, you know, the Russians are out there, you know better. You better beware. Nothing about Carter Page, nothing about Papadopoulos. Nothing about the other people that they thought might be working with the Russians. Why did they not tell him that? I hope you can give us an answer. Bottom line, ladies and gentlemen. A counterintelligence investigation. Is a good thing until it becomes a bad thing. Because it doesn't take much to open one.

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And the worst thing can happen is for people to open one up whose real purpose is not to protect an American. But to surveil them. Senator Feinstein found herself in a situation. All of us may one day find ourselves in. A longtime employee was suspected of having ties to a foreign government. They informed her and she took appropriate action. How easy would it be for somebody to come in our campaigns as a volunteer? We really don't know who they are.

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You just appreciate any help you can get. How does it would it be for all of us to get caught up in this scenario? I hope all of us would appreciate if you really believed there's somebody in my campaign working with a foreign power. Please tell me. So I can do something about it. Why didn't they tell Trump? We'll figure that out later. But I think is a question that needs to be asked. So for a moment, let's assume that there was a lawful predicate delve, no counter-intelligence investigation.

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What has been described as a few irregularities becomes a massive criminal conspiracy over time to defraud the FISA court, to illegally surveil an American citizen and keep an operation open against a sitting president, United States violating every norm known to the rule of law. Many of your prosecutors, many of you have been U.S. attorneys, many of you been defense attorneys. Trump's time will come and go. But I hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again, because what happened here is not a few irregularities.

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What happened here is the system failed. People at the highest level of our government. Took the law in their own hands. And when I say defraud the FISA court, I mean it. To your team, you are able to uncover and discover abuse of power. I never believed would actually exist in twenty nineteen.

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How bad is it? Is as it was, is was as if Jagger Hoover came back to life. The old FBI. The FBI had a chip on his shoulder and wanted to intimidate people and find out what was going on in your life and the law be damned. Martin Luther King and just fill in the names. So who ran this thing? The people were handpicked by McCabe. The number two guy at the FBI. The supervisory agent. The deputy assistant director for counterintelligence as Peter Struck.

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He's a big player and all things CROSSFIRE Hurricane Lisa Page.

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You may have heard of her. Who is she? She was an FBI lawyer working for McCabe. These are two central characters in this debacle. Let me tell you a little bit about who these people are and where they're coming from. Thanks to a lot of hard work about people. Mr. Ha was the FBI and others. Here's what we know struck. The frontline supervisor. Fairbrother Twelve 2016. Oh, he's Trump abysmal. I keep hoping the charade will end and people will just dump him.

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The problem then is that Roubaix Rubio will likely lose to Cruz. I never quite made it. Now I can understand why they would not consider me a serious candidate. The Republican Party is utter shambles. When was the last competitive ticket they offered? March 3rd, 2016. Page got Trump is a loathsome human struck. Oh my God, he's an idiot. And you know what? Newsrooms all over the country, people are nodding. This represents the attitude a lot of people in America.

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And you can have that attitude, but you shouldn't be in the journalism business. You shouldn't be at the FBI if you were in the military. And you said anything like this about a commander in chief, you'd be charged with a crime. Remember the McChrystal debacle where they had a bar room discussion with a reporter from the Rolling Stone? Plus, a takeaway. Don't go to a bar with a Rolling Stone reporter. They started talking about how they didn't like Joe Biden and I was one of the first people to say that is out of bounds.

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You can have all the political opinions you want, but if you're an officer in the United States military, you will pass those opinions and you will not speak ill of the commander in chief. But that obviously is not a rule at the FBI Department Justice, March 16th, 2016. I cannot believe Donald Trump is likely to be actual serious candidate for president. July 16th, we're getting closer to when this thing opens. And while Donald Trump is an enormous douche again, a lot of people agree with him.

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Trump barely spoke, but the first thing out of his mouth was, we're going to win so big. The whole thing is like living in a bad dream. July the 19th, 2016 Trump is a disaster. I have no idea how destabilising his presidency would be in. A lot of people believe that you're entitled, believe that. But you should not be an investigator. July the 30th. Their investigations open. And damn, this feels momentous about the investigation because this matters.

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The others one did, too. But that was to ensure we did an F something up. This matters because this matters. So super glad to be on this voyage with you. I hope you understand what this voyage was about. August 8, 2016. Three days before Strug was named the frontline supervisor. He's not ever going to become president. Right. Paige just struck. Struck. No, no, he warned. We'll stop it. These are the people in charge.

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August 15th, 2016. I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andie's office. That there's no way he gets elected, but I'm afraid we can't take that risk that the American people will pick their president is what they're saying.

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It's like an insurance policy in the like and like unlikely event. You die before your 40 August 26, 2016.

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Just went to Southern. Just went to a southern Virginia Wal-Mart.

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I could smell the Trump support. People in charge. October 11th, 2016. Currently, fighting was due for the Pfizer S2, was a lawyer who thought this thing was not on the up and up. Stood his ground until he couldn't stand it anymore. Eventually got run over. October the 19th. I'm all riled up. Trump is an effing idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer. The New York Times probability numbers are dropping every day. I'm scared for our organization.

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November the 3rd, 2016. Oh my god, this is effing terrifying. Referencing an article entitled A Victory by Trump Remains Possible. November the Night 2016. Are you ever going to give out your calendars some kind of depressing? Maybe it should be the first meeting of the secret society. November the 13th. I brought all of abort all the president's men. I figure I needed to brush up on Watergate. November the 13th, 2016. Finally, to a 2 pages away from finishing all the president's men page destruct.

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Did you know the president resigns at the end?

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Struck what? God, that would be so lucky. May 18th, 2017.

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The date page accepted a position on the special counsel's team for me and this case, I personally have a sense of unfinished business. Unleashed. With y'aII, whatever that means. Now need to fix it and finish it struck. Who gives a F? One more assistant director or whoever. An investigation leading to impeachment. May 2017. You're not above. No. The odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I'd be there. I'd be dead.

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I'd I'd be there, no question. I hesitate in part just because of my gut sense of concern. There is no big there.

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They're talking about impeaching May 22nd, 2017. I'm torn. I think no, I'm more replaceable than you are in this. I'm the best for it. But there are others who can do it. OK, you're different and more unique. This is yours talking to Page. All right. That's the frontline supervisor and the lawyer to McCain. There's a guy named Kleinsmith. Who eventually alters an email from the CIA to the Department of Justice and FBI. And Mr.

[00:15:51.05]
Horowitz is in team. Found this out and how they did it. I'll never know. I'm jumping ahead here. But when you read this report, what they find is that a lawyer. Supervising the FISA process at the FBI. According to Mr. Horowitz, doctored an e-mail from the CIA to the FBI and he's gonna be referred for criminal prosecution. Why is that important? Carter Page, who's been on the receiving end of all this? The foundation to believe he was a foreign agent comes from a dossier that we'll talk about in a minute.

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And that dossier provided about Christopher Steele and we'll talk about him in a minute.

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They claim that Carter Page meets with three people known to be Russians. Russian agents, people associated with Russia, Carter Page, while being wiretapped by his government, says, I don't know two of these people. And to this day, there's no proof that he ever met two of those three. The third person, he says. Yeah, I met him. I told the CIA about my meeting because I was a source for the CIA.

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So they would have you believe that Carter Page is working against our government, not with our government. So Carter Page in the summer of twenty seventeen is trying to tell anybody and everybody. I was working with the CIA. I reported my contact with this person and nobody believed him. The CIA had told the FBI it was true earlier. But it never made it through the system. Somebody got so rattled at the FBI, they asked Mr. Kleinsmith to check it out.

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He checks it out. He communicates with the CIA. Is Carter Page a source for you? In an email exchange, they say, yes, he is. What does Mr. Kleinsmith do? He alters the e-mail to say, no, he's not. And you caught him. I don't know how you caught him because you got to dig into this e-mail chain. It would be like getting a lab report from the FBI. The fingerprints don't match. And the agent says they do.

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That's how bad this is. So now let me tell you a little bit about Mr. Kleinsmith that I can find it. Kleinsmith stuff. All right. This is the lawyer supervising the Vaso warrant process. The guy that altered this CIA e-mail because he didn't want the court to know that Carter Page actually was the source. And why does that matter? Because if the court had known, then there's a lawful reason for Mr. Page to be talking to the Russian guy.

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He was working against his country. He was working with his country, which undercuts the idea he's a foreign agent. That's why Kleinsmith lied, because he didn't want to stop this investigation. All right. This is after the election. I am so stressed about what I could have done differently the day after the election, I've just devastated. I can't wait until I can leave today and just shut off the world for the next four days. I'm sure a lot of people felt that way after Trump got elected.

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Maybe you still feel that way, but you should be in charge of supervising anything about Donald Trump if you feel that way. I just can't imagine. The systematic disassembly of the progress we've made over the last eight years. The Obama administration, the crazies, one finally. This is the lawyer that they put in put in charge of supervising the work process. This is the Tea Party on steroids. And I'm sure their newsrooms all over America saying that's absolutely right.

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What is wrong with that? Oh, also, Pence's stupid. Better this is what the guy is saying. Right after the election, and it's just hard not to feel like the FBI calls some of this. It was a razor thin in some states. Plus, my god damn name is all over the legal documents investigating Trump's staff. And this is the one that gives me the most. November the twenty second. Shortly after the election of Donald J.

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Trump, the FBI lawyer in charge of supervising the FISA process. Tweets out to friends. Viva la resistance. What are the odds that this guy might do something wrong? Would you have to be part of a right wing, right wing conspiracy to protect in the future? Maybe this guy will get off script. Folks, if these are a few irregularities, the rule of law in this country is dead. And here's the good news venues. These are not a few irregularities.

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These are a few bad people that couldn't believe Trump. One didn't want him to believe they didn't want him to win. And when he won, couldn't tolerate the fact that he won. And all these smelly people elected him. This is bad stuff. So if you get out of this report, lawful investigation with a few irregularities, it says more about you than Mr. Horowitz.

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How the hell did this whole thing start? What got us here today? They open up a counterintelligence investigation in July. We know the Russians are messing in our election. And it was the Russians, ladies and gentlemen, who stole the Democratic National Committee emails, Podesta's e-mails, and screwed around with Hillary Clinton. It wasn't the Ukrainians. It was the Russians. And they're coming after us again. So to be concerned that the Russians are messing with presidential campaigns was a legitimate concern.

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Said they looked around at the Trump campaign and said, well, let's see if we can protect the Trump campaign. Carter Page went to Moscow a lot, made speeches. If you've ever met Carter, page, one thing you will not accuse him of is being James Bond. This poor guy, Papadopoulos Pig by Sam Clovis to be part of Trump's national security team. This national security team was literally picked up off the street. If you've had a photo with Donald Trump, you spent more time with Donald Trump than Papadopoulos and Page.

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They're not paid their volunteers. But the FBI thinks we need to watch these guys or man support as well as who's the other one? Flynn, General Flynn. So they open up a counter-intelligence investigation. Let's assume for a moment that these small predicate you need has been met. What the hell happened after they opened it up? What did they find? Or their suspicions validated? Or did they find it every turn? It's really not true and they ignored it.

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So one of the first things they tried to do was to get a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to follow Carter Page, a volunteer for the campaign, an American citizen. They apply for the warrant internally in August. Of 2016. And the lawyers say you don't have enough. Why? Because they had nothing. Maybe this reasonable articulation is this small, but to get a warrant for McChord, you've got to have probable cause. So the lawyer saying you don't have it.

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Everybody is now frustrated, folks. That's not the right answer. So McCabe suggests the number two guy at the FBI. Well, let's go look at this steel dossier. Maybe that will get us over the hump. Just stay tuned. We'll talk about that in a minute. So in September the 19th, for the first time, they introduced the steel dossier into the warrant application process. It worked September the 21st. They get a signoff. Let's go get a warrant.

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The dossier got them to where they wanted to go. As you say, Mr. Harwood's, it was central and basically outcome determinative. Without this dossier, they go nowhere with it. They're off to the races. Who is Christopher Steele? You see, all these other people were bad. Wait, do you hear about this guy? Christopher Steele was a former. Am I? Six. Is that right? Six. Five. Whatever it is, he was a British agent.

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Retired. He had a new line of business. He was hired by a company called Fusion g._p._s. To investigate Donald Trump. OK. You want to look at foreign influence. You're about to find it. Fusion g._p._s is on the payroll of the Democratic National Party. Christopher Steele is working for a company to find dirt on Trump and the money comes of the Democratic Party. Did they tell the court this? No. Is that a bit unnerving would be to me.

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So Christopher Steele is on the payroll of a company funded by the Democratic Party. Here's what Bruce or tells the FBI FBI about Christopher Steele. He was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the US president. This is the guy that gave them the work product to get the warrant. Still told or that if Trump won the elections, still source network may be in jeopardy by a new FBI director and new agency heads appointed by Trump, who would have a higher degree of loyalty to the new president and could decide to take action against Steele and his source network.

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Let me tell you about Christopher Steele. Or was right. It was on a mission to get Donald Trump. Not only did he provide the dossier that made the difference in getting a warrant. His biases were well-known. He was shopping the dossier.

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We have it. To anybody and everybody in the media and in politics to see if they would predict. The reason the FBI cut him loose because they found that he was shopping this thing around to media outlets rather than being a valid source. But after they knew he was shopping it around, they kept him around anyway. Ghost missed or kept talking to him. And you think that's a bit Bruce or his wife worked with Christopher Steele? She was employed by Fusion g._p._s, the life of the number four guy at the FBI.

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Christopher Steele went all over the United States trying to get media outlets to publish this garbage. The first thing is about the golden shower, about the sexual encounter that President Trump supposedly had and a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Russia. Let me tell you how come to find out about Christopher Steele's work product. In December of 2016, John McCain goes to a national security conference in Canada and somebody tells him about the Steele dossier and his bad. And you need to know about it.

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And it gets to John McCain. John McCain puts it in his safe. He gives it to me. And I read it. And the first thing I thought of. Oh, my God. What are two things this could be Russian disinformation or they may have something on Trump. If you read this document, the first thing you would think of is they got something on Donald Trump.

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It is stunning. It is damning. It is salacious and it's a bunch of crap. They finally find the guy that prepared all the information. But a little bit about steel in 2015, the British intelligence service said you need to watch this guy. He's not reliable. They take time to go to London to check still out. And they're told a demonstrated lack of self-awareness, poor judgment. Keen to help, but underpinned by poor judgment, judgment, pursuing people, political risk, but no intel value.

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If you'd spend 30 minutes looking at Christopher Steele, you would understand this guy is biased. He's got an axe to grind. He's on the payroll of the opposing party. Take anything he says with a grain of salt. In January 2017. The FBI figures out who the sub source of the Steele dossier is. What you need to know. This is not what Steele found himself.

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This is what he gathered from one person. They finally found out who this one person is.

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They go talk to him in January 2017 or that five people interview the primary sub source.

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The guy that provided Steele with everything and they showed him the dossier, read pages 186 to 190. What does the Russian guy tell the FBI about the FBI, about the dossier that still misstated or exaggerated the prime sub source's statements that Trump's alleged sexual activities at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow was rumor and speculation. He went on to say he heard it at a bar. And in the report, it suggests that a Western employee of the Ritz Carlton confirmed this escapade by then a private citizen, Trump, when he read that, he says that's not true.

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I never told Steele that somebody working for the Ritz-Carlton confirmed this. I heard it at a bar.

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Primary sub source stated they never expected Steele to put the primary sub source's statements in reports or present them as facts. They were word of mouth and hearsay. Conversations had with friends over beers were statements made in jest that should be taken with a grain of salt. So in January 2017, the person who did all the assembling of the information for the now famous deal, Steele dossier, kills the FBI. I disavow everything in there.

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Now, what should happen? Time out. Let's reassess. Maybe we got this wrong. What would you hope to Abbott? That the FBI would slow down because this is the outcome determinative document that's just had a hole blown through it. They don't slow down. They use the document that now know to be a bunch of garbage, twice more to get a warning against garbage out. Carter Page gets a lawyer and sues the hell out of the Department of Justice and FBI.

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Two more warrants were obtained by the Department, Justice and the FBI after being told in January by the Russian guys all a bunch of bull. But it gets worse. Here's how they describe. The interview to the court. The FBI found that the Russian based sub source to be truthful and cooperative. Nothing about it. Oh, by the way, he said everything in there is a bunch of bull. You knew in January 2017, if there was no doubt before, you know, by the guy who prepared it that he disavowed everything is not true.

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Is a grain of salt. You shouldn't. I didn't say all these things. Instead of stopping, they keep going. And instead of telling the court, the court the truth, what they're required to do. They lied to the court. A few irregularities. How would you like this to happen in your life? How would you like to be on the receiving end of this? To our people in the news business, what would you like? How would you like this to be your news organization?

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In January 2017, there is no benefit of the doubt to be given these five people from the Department of Justice and the FBI have been told by the one guy who did all the work as a bunch of garbage. And the question is, how far up to the system did it go? Why did they apply for warrants twice more? Why didn't they stop? Everybody wants to know, is there any bias here? What motivated these people? Why do you think they kept going?

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Maybe because they were on a mission not to protect Trump, but to protect us from Trump. That's what they were trying to protect, all of us smelly people from Donald Trump. That's what this is about. Would you believe it or not? I believe it. And you know why? It could happen the next time. There are some pretty passionate people on our side that I would more be investigating any of you. So what happens next? They get a warrant twice more when they notice a bunch of garbage.

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They lie to the court about the actual interview. I don't know what McCabe and Comey knew, but I'm dying to find out. And should they have known June 2016? 2070. This is the next time they take the law into their own hands. Mr. Kleinsmith, six months after being told the dossier is a bunch of garbage. Kleinsmith alters. An email from the CIA to change it from he is to he's not, because if they had told the court that Paige was working for the CIA, it explains the content in the dossier.

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Mr. Kleinsmith had a chance. In his mind, to make things right and he took it, why did he take the law in his own hands? Why did a doctor the e-mail, did it have anything to do with the way he sees Donald Trump's presidency? You know what? It really doesn't matter what he was thinking. It matters what he did. And I'm glad you found out what he did. I'm glad you told the country what he did because I'm hoping that nobody will ever do it a given.

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So Mr. Ha, what's the 17 year regularities that you found?

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Some are more earth shattering. Someone should scare the hell a hell of the hell out of all of us. I just want to end sort of where I began. This is not normal. Don't judge the FBI and the Department of Justice, but these characters were better than this. Like many of you, I've worked with the FBI. A lot of my time in government. Have a great respect for it. Director Ray, you got a problem. And for this hearing to mean anything, we've got to fix it in the way we fix it.

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Listen to Mr. harlettes. And get the director of the FBI in here to try to find out a way to make sure this never happens again to any politician in this country. It's tromped a day. It could be you or me tomorrow. And imagine, ladies and gentlemen, if they can do this to the candidate for president of the United States, what could they do to you? So the Trump presidency will end in a year, five years, I don't know when I'll be Israela.

[00:38:38.08]
But we can't write this off. As being just about. One man or one event? We've got to understand how the rails, the system. And I'll leave with some optimism here. I think Democrats and Republicans. Are willing to make sure this never happens again. That if you open up a counter-intelligence investigation on a presidential campaign in the future, they needs to be more checks and balances. I want you to audit the Pfizer process. Mike Lee and Senator Leahy.

[00:39:20.05]
Are probably the standard bearers for civil liberties. Crews, lot of people, we all care, but these are the two that constantly want to make sure that somebody is watching those who watch us. They're worried about metadata. While I may not agree with all of your concerns or all of your solutions, I respect the fact that you care. I hope you won't treat. This report is finding a lawful investigation with a few irregularities. I'm a pretty hawkish guy, but if the court doesn't take corrective action and do something about being manipulated and lied to, you will lose my support.

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I know a lot about what's going on out there to hurt us, and they're real threats and they're real agents and they're really bad actors out there. I'd hate to lose the ability of the FISA court to operate at a time probably when we need it the most. But after your report, I have serious concerns about whether the FISA court can continue unless there's fundamental reform after report. I think we need to rewrite the rules of how you start a counter-intelligence investigation and the checks and balances that we need.

[00:40:46.06]
Mr. Harwood's and for us to do justice to the report, we have to do more than try to shade this report one way or the other. We have to address the underlying problem of a system in the hands of a few bad people can do a lot of damage.

[00:41:06.02]
Thank you very much.