McConnell on Continued Action on Improper Investigations: The American People Deserve Answers and We Intend to Get Them

‘The Senate passed important FISA reforms in last week’s bill… the President will have a Senate-confirmed DNI… [and] the Judiciary Committee will vote on a serious new set of subpoenas so the Senate can hear directly from key players like James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Loretta Lynch, and many others to continue getting to the bottom of this.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding government accountability: 

“The coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge our nation, and the Senate is here working for the American people.

“Our committees have called in experts like Dr. Fauci and leaders like Chairman Powell to discuss the CARES Act and the path toward re-opening. We are tracking the effects of the largest rescue package ever and we are considering next steps, like enacting strong legal protections so that doctors, small businesses, schoolteachers, and universities do not face a second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits.

“The Senate is also staying on top of other threats that predated COVID-19. The meddling of Putin’s Russia. The brutal Chinese Communist Party. Rogue states like Iran and North Korea. Foreign terrorists such as ISIS.

“Two weeks ago, we overwhelmingly confirmed an impressive leader for the National Counterintelligence and Security Center whom Acting DNI Grenell has announced will play a central role in briefing candidates and campaigns on foreign threats against our elections.

“Today our colleagues on the Intelligence Committee, now led by Acting Chairman Rubio, will report out the President’s nominee to be the next Director of National Intelligence.

“And last week, we reauthorized essential tools that our intelligence community needs to defend our homeland, track our enemies, and protect Americans.

“But we didn’t stop there.

“Over the last several years, we’ve been painfully reminded that our nation and our liberties are not only threatened from without. The fabric of our country is also hurt when tools and capabilities that are meant to keep us safe are abused — in ways that are, at best, reckless, sloppy and unaccountable; or, worse, polluted by political bias.

“In 2016 the FBI embarked on a counterintelligence investigation against Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency. Federal law enforcement used taxpayer money to scrutinize a political campaign in the middle of a democratic election.

“You would have thought such a radical step must have sprung from an air-tight justification.

“Certainly you would think the outgoing Obama administration should only have used the awesome power of the federal government to pry into their political rivals if they had a slam-dunk basis for doing so.

“But that is not what they had.

“In one instance, the FBI got permission to surveil a Trump associate by telling half-truths, blurring evidence, and citing sketchy sources like a dossier of partisan opposition research that had been funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC.

“Here’s how even the New York Times explained the recent findings of the Justice Department’s Inspector General: “The F.B.I. had cherry-picked and misstated evidence about the Trump adviser…when seeking permission to wiretap him.” That’s the New York Times.

“So an American citizen’s campaign for the American presidency was treated like a hostile foreign power by our own law enforcement — in part because a Democrat-led executive branch manipulated documents, hid contrary evidence, and made a DNC-funded dossier a launchpad for an investigation.

“The Inspector General counted “seven significant inaccuracies and omissions.”

“Here’s his report: “We identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the [FBI’s] FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.”

“Did you catch that last part? “Based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.” So we are either talking about gross incompetence or intentional bias.

“Does any Senator think it’s acceptable for any federal warrant application to include seven significant inaccuracies and omissions? But this wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill warrant.  It was a FISA warrant to snoop on a presidential campaign.  

“This is just one of the realities that President Trump’s Democratic critics spent years calling conspiracy theories or inventions of the President’s mind. Yet here it is, in black and white, from exactly the kind of independent Inspector General that Democrats rush to embrace when convenient.

“Sadly, this was no isolated incident. Just recently, Attorney General Barr has had to take the incredible step of unwinding a DOJ prosecution of another former Trump advisor because the government’s case against him was unfair and distorted as well.

“It was largely on the basis of these proceedings that Democrats and the media spent years fixating on wild theories of Russian collusion.

“But upon investigation — the Mueller investigation, remember that one? — it is those wild allegations that collapsed. Along with the credibility of several of these investigations that helped create the cloud of suspicion in the first place.

“In the words of our distinguished Attorney General: “The proper investigative and prosecutorial standards of the Department of Justice were abused…We saw two different standards of justice emerge, one that applied to President Trump and his associates, and the other that applied to everybody else. We can’t allow this ever to happen again.” End quote.

“Oh, and by the way, as if this debacle needed even more shocking behavior, I understand a federal judge may try to continue prosecuting one of these cases even though the prosecution itself wants to drop it.

“The judge has taken it upon himself to go browsing for other hostile parties. Obviously, that subverts our constitutional order in which the executive alone decides whether to prosecute cases.

“So, look: No matter what some Washington Democrats may try to claim, you are not crazy or a conspiracy theorist if you see a pattern of institutional unfairness towards this President. You would have to be blind not to see one.

“All of this is why the Senate passed important FISA reforms in last week’s bill, to help bring accountability and transparency into that flawed process. And we aren’t nearly finished.

“As soon as possible, the full Senate will vote on Mr. Ratcliffe’s nomination. The President will have a Senate-confirmed DNI who can pursue the vital national-security work of our tireless Intelligence Community while also ensuring the IC stays out of politics and out of the papers.

“And just yesterday, Chairman Graham announced the Judiciary Committee will vote on a serious new set of subpoenas so the Senate can hear directly from key players like James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Loretta Lynch, and many others to continue getting to the bottom of this.

"Let me say that again: Senate Republicans are taking steps to issue new subpoenas to a wide variety of Obama administration officials with some relationship to the abuses I’ve just laid out. The American people deserve answers about how such abuses could happen. And we intend to get those answers.

“I’ve been a strong supporter of law enforcement and the intelligence community my whole career. The American people sleep safer because dedicated people are protecting our country and bringing our foes to justice.

“It is precisely because I support these missions that I feel so strongly this malpractice cannot be tolerated and must never be repeated.”

Related Issues: China, COVID-19, National Security, Nominations