Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham went scorched earth on Thursday evening following a series of bombshells about ex-special counsel Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation into President Donald Trump.
During an interview on Fox News with host Sean Hannity, the South Carolina Republican spoke about the Justice Department releasing an August 2017 memo from former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The memo detailed the scope of Mueller’s Russia investigation and what Rosenstein had given him the authority to do with his probe.
“The legal foundation for Mueller’s appointment is crumbling,” Graham said.
“The memo to Mueller from Rosenstein was given to me fully by [Attorney General] Barr virtually unredacted. So now we know that the scope of the investigation was to look at Carter Page, [former National Security Adviser Michael] Flynn, [George] Papadopoulos and [former Trump campaign chairman Paul] Manafort as to whether or not they were working with the Russians. Now, this is in August of 2017.”
“In January of 2017,” Graham continued, “the sub source disavowed the [Christopher Steele] dossier. And without the dossier, there is no [FISA] warrant. So they knew that the Carter Page thing was a fraud. They wanted to close the case against Flynn. We have Papadopoulos on record denying working with the Russians, saying to do so would be treason. So the foundation for the Mueller investigation is crumbling.”
When Mueller was first appointed special counsel in May 2017, Rosenstein authorized him to probe “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump … any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; [and] … any other matters within the scope of [obstruction of justice laws].”
The August 2017 scope memo had largely remained redacted — until this week.
The newly released memo makes it more than clear that Rosenstein gave Mueller the authority to go after and charge members of the Trump campaign with essentially anything, which extended well beyond Russian interference efforts.
Graham then really detailed what the memo said:
“The legal foundation to justify Mueller’s appointment in my view does not exist,” Graham said. “That’s why this memo is so important. They name four people. Rosenstein tells Mueller to look at four people [on] August 2nd, 2017. Carter Page is one of the four. In January, eight months before the sub source disavowed the dossier, there was no legal justification to suspect Carter Page of being a Russian agent because it all depended on the dossier. And that crumbled in January.”
“Flynn’s case was looked at by the [FBI] field office in Washington, January the 4th of 2017,” Graham continued.
“They said there’s no reason to believe he is doing anything wrong … so there is no legitimate reason to believe any of these four were working with the Russians on August 2nd, 2017. Therefore, the entire Mueller investigation was illegitimate to begin with. That’s very important.”
Now I know why Mueller didn't find anything — there was nothing there to find.
Before it even started, they (FBI/DOJ) knew. pic.twitter.com/yTwDBqyUMn
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 7, 2020
The scope memo makes it clear that there was never any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion — and Mueller, the FBI, and DOJ knew that from the very beginning.
“On Trump–Russia, there was no factual basis for a criminal investigation, which is why Rosenstein did not attempt to articulate one in his directive appointing Mueller. Therefore, the question of whether there was a conflict requiring the appointment of a prosecutor from outside DOJ should never have been reached. Even if it had been reached, there was no conflict, which is why the FBI and DOJ had been conducting the Russia investigation for nearly a year before Mueller’s appointment. In any event, because the FBI’s counterintelligence mission is not prosecutor work, it normally does not need a DOJ prosecutor, much less an outside prosecutor,” the National Review reported.