In the wake of the FBI’s execution of a search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s home, Republicans are expressing their distrust of the FBI. They are calling for the release of more information regarding why the search was conducted and the evidence used to get the warrant approved.
“What we want is accountability, we want transparency. And these criticisms that we are leveling against the FBI and DOJ are fully warranted,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Republicans’ doubts go back to the Trump administration when the FBI was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign, an inquiry called Crossfire Hurricane. The FBI made multiple mistakes that Republicans argued showed an anti-Trump and anti-conservative bias.
The Strzok-Page text messages
Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok was part of Crossfire Hurricane, investigated Hillary Clinton’s emails, and was on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team before he was fired. His termination was due to a series of anti-Trump text messages.
In one of the many exchanges while those investigations were ongoing, FBI attorney Lisa Page texted Strzok about Donald Trump, “He’s not ever going to become President, right?” To which Strzok responded, “No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
Strzok was forced to defend himself before Congress under oath.
“It was in no way, unequivocally, any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to impact the electoral process for any candidate,” Strzok told the House Judiciary Committee in July 2018.
The Horowitz report
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz put out a 400-page report on Crossfire Hurricane stating that while the investigation was opened on proper grounds, he found serious problems with the way it was conducted.
The report revealed FBI agents inaccurately stated and omitted relevant information when applying for a warrant to surveil a member of the Trump campaign. Overall, the warrant application process was filled with “serious performance failures.”
It also showed that agents hid that they knew the information in the Steele Dossier was questionable.
“Our review identified significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised. Particularly, the FBI’s failure to adhere to its own standards and completeness,” Horowitz told the Senate Judiciary Committee in December 2019.
The guilty plea
FBI Agent Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to altering an email used to get a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Clinesmith was sentenced to one year of probation for the single felony count for which he said he was ashamed.