Lindsey Graham breaks down why problems laid out in the FISA report should ‘scare the hell out of all of us’

December 11, 2029

Nate Madden

The findings of the recently released Department of Justice inspector general’s report on the FBI’s 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign and people associated with it should scare anyone concerned about their civil liberties, regardless of their stance on President Donald Trump, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday.

Toward the beginning of his opening remarks — which lasted about 40 minutes — at a committee hearing on the report, Graham said that his goal is to “make sure” that “whether you like Trump, hate Trump, don’t care about Trump, you look at this as more than a few irregularities. Because if this becomes a few irregularities in America, then God help us all.”

The report, which was released Monday after months of public anticipation, found that while investigators found no evidence of political bias in the decision to launch the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign or subsequent investigations into associated individuals, there were serious problems with how FBI and Department of Justice investigators obtained and renewed surveillance warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During the course of his opening statement, Graham described the numerous problems with the FISA warrant process the report listed in painstaking detail, which included the actions taken by FBI and DOJ officials, as well as the degree to which investigators relied on the widely criticized Steele dossier, which Graham called “garbage.”

After going over a section of the report addressing actions taken by former FBI official Kevin Clinesmith, Graham concluded that “if these are few irregularities, the rule of law in this country is dead.” However, Graham said, the “good news” is that “these are not a few irregularities; these are a few bad people” biased against Donald Trump.

“This is not normal,” Graham said of the troublesome actions described in the report. “Some of them should scare the hell out of all of us.”

He added, “It’s Trump today; it could be you or me tomorrow. And imagine, ladies and gentlemen, if they can do this to the candidate for the president of the United States, what could they do to you?”

Toward the end of his remarks, Graham told Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz that the civil liberties concerns raised by the report gave him “serious concerns about whether the FISA court can continue unless there’s fundamental reform.”

The senator elaborated, “We need to rewrite the rules of how you start a counterintelligence investigation and the checks and balances that we need.”