Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said the word “stunned” does not begin to describe his reaction to the depth and breadth of government corruption in the transition between the presidencies of Barack Obama and Trump.
“Stunned isn’t even close,” said Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “It is outrageous. What I’m really stunned about is how it just gets a big yawn on the part of the mainstream media.”
Johnson said he is committed to getting to the bottom of how several U.S. government agencies and individuals related to the FBI’s 2016 Crossfire Hurricane investigation behaved.
This Thursday, Johnson said his committee will vote on a motion to authorize him to issue subpoenas for records and testimonies.
“Our country is revered for peaceful transfer of power, the fact that we actually accept the wishes of the American voter,” Johnson said.
In December, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report that criticized the DOJ and the FBI for errors and omissions related to the FISA warrants against Carter Page and for the FBI’s reliance on the Steele dossier, the flawed opposition research document put together for Fusion GPS to damage the Trump campaign.
Johnson said his inquiry will delve into whether laws were abused, if the trust in the transition process is broken, and to make sure this never happens again to any president.
“President Trump came into this process basically a trusting person, believing we are all on the same team here, and these people that work these agencies, they got to be pretty apolitical so he doesn’t have to fire them all,” said Johnson of Trump’s initial post-election days.
“But what he found out and what he has found out and what they’re moving to do right now is three years too late, trying to weed people out that were trying to undermine him,” Johnson said.
The Wisconsin senator said the inquiry will also look into leaks of classified information to the media, how the State Department interacted with politicos, and the FBI’s effectiveness in gaining access to the Trump transition team’s records.
Johnson said in his effort to unravel what happened that he ran into an “information logjam” that did not break until February of this year: “Some of it started with my staff’s excellent work, their tenacity, going down to the [secure compartmented information facilities, rooms for classified documents], looking at the FISA report, going through all their redactions that they could read, and we uncovered those four footnotes that, when my staff called me down to the SCIF, my first thought was, and my first action was, ‘These need to be made public.’”
Johnson and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a classified letter to Attorney General William Barr requesting Barr declassify four footnotes in the report to illustrate a clearer perception of what transpired during Crossfire Hurricane.
“To the credit of Attorney General Barr, and, in particular, Rick Grenell — it took a couple months, had to get through the bureaucracy; there’s a lot of resistance — but we uncovered the fact that the FBI knew as early as Oct. 16 of Russian efforts to provide disinformation, and they primarily did it through the Steele organization, trying to infiltrate that,” said Johnson.
Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, was the acting director of national intelligence from February until the end of May; he continued in his role until this past Monday, when he resigned his post.
In May, Grenell released declassified National Security Agency documents containing a list of officials from the Obama administration who received unmasking requests.
“All of this is jaw-dropping, and where’s the mainstream media screaming it out from the rafters?” Johnson said. “They’re not. They’re completely AWOL, of course.”
The bottom line, Johnson said, is that “this entire thing has been a complete corruption of our expected peaceful transition of power, and people need to understand how serious that is. … You had an outgoing administration that did not respect the will of the American people and didn’t want, for example, Michael Flynn, to maybe overturn their policy toward Russia and Iran,” Johnson said, adding, “Your guy lost; policies are going to change. You have to accept that, and they didn’t.”
Johnson says President Trump gets criticized for saying it was an attempted coup.
“Well, what else do you call this other than an attempted coup? That’s not hyperbole; that’s what this was. And particularly when you understand from that FISA report that the FBI doing all these investigations knew full well that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia. … They knew that by the end of January, and you had James Comey in his position, Rod Rosenstein; they continued this process and engineered the appointment of special counsel. There aren’t words to describe how outrageous that is.”
Author: Salena Zito
Source: Washington Examiner: Ron Johnson aims to punish attempted ‘coup’ against Trump