Rep. Devin Nunes blasted FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday over what he said was the bureau’s “outright lies” regarding its surveillance activities against the Trump campaign in 2016.
“The government used the Department and the FBI as weapons against the opposition party, a hallmark of banana republics,” Nunes said to Wray during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee.
Nunes, the top Republican on the committee, reviewed the findings of a Justice Department inspector general’s report that said the FBI made 17 “significant” errors and omissions in applications for surveillance warrants against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Nunes asserted that Wray and leaders at the Justice Department provided misleading statements to Republicans who were investigating the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign, and its surveillance activities.
The Republican recalled a meeting in January 2018 in which he claims Wray and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein attempted “to shutdown our investigation altogether.”
Republicans at the time were digging into the FBI’s handling of the Steele dossier, which a former British spy compiled on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign. The FBI relied heavily on the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against Carter Page.
“Instead of quickly acknowledging and fixing the mistakes the FBI has resorted to stonewalling, obstruction, half-truths and, in most cases, outright lies during our ongoing investigation,” said Nunes.
The Justice Department inspector general (IG) found that the FBI failed to verify any of the key allegations in the dossier. Investigators also failed to tell the federal surveillance court that some of the information in the dossier appeared inaccurate, or had been contradicted by other sources, according to the IG.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorized the Page warrants, excoriated the FBI in response to the IG’s findings. The Justice Department also invalidated two of the four warrants granted against Page due to the FBI’s errors.
Wray did not respond to Nunes during Thursday’s hearing.