During testimony by FBI Director Christopher Wray, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked whether FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok -- was fired by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for sending "anti-Trump text messages" -- was involved in getting a warrant from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign, having relied on a dossier of an uncorroborated salacious dossier on Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. It was the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign that paid opposition research firm Fusion GPS to obtain the dossier, which was derived from Russian sources.

"If you kicked everybody off of Mueller's team who was anti-Trump, I don't think there'd be anybody left," said Jordan, alleging there is "more" behind Strzok's departure from Mueller's team.

Did Peter Strzok use the Trump dossier?

Jordan said that his hunch was that the FISA warrant had “something to do with the dossier.” He asked Wray, “Did Peter Strzok help produce and present the application to the FISA court to secure a warrant to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign?” Wray refused to answer. When Jordan pressed by asking whether Strzok was involved in taking the dossier to the court, Wray again refused.

Jordan reminded Wray that it was the Clinton campaign and the DNC that engaged Fusion GPS, which in turn paid former British spy Christopher Steele who then paid Russian to cobble together a report that “we call the dossier, “filled with all kinds of fake news National Enquirer garbage.” Wray was not FBI director at the time the dossier was produced. At that time, James Comey was director. He was fired by President Trump in January. Mueller is a former FBI director.

Jordan said that the dossier was “‘all dressed up’” by the FBI and then given to the FISA court where it was presented as authentic intelligence, which in turn became the basis for “granting a warrant to spy on Americans.” He said that he believes that Strzok, who headed FBI counterintelligence, ran the agency’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, did all the interviews and ran the Russia investigation at the FBI, was “the guy that took the application to the FISA court.”

Partial transcript:

“Let’s remember a couple of things about the dossier. The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, which we now know were one and the same, paid the law firm who paid Fusion GPS who paid Christopher Steele who then paid Russians to put together a report that we call a dossier full of all kinds of fake news, National Enquirer garbage and it’s been reported that this dossier was all dressed up by the FBI, taken to the FISA court and presented as a legitimate intelligence document — that it became the basis for a warrant to spy on Americans."

'As wrong as it gets'

Jordan said, “And if this happened, if you have the FBI working with the Democrats' campaign, to take opposition research...that is as wrong as it gets…” Saying that the committee had sent a letter to the FBI earlier this week demanding the release of the application to the FISA court to snoop on Americans, Jordan said, “Tell us if I'm wrong. But I don't think I am. I think that is exactly what happened, and people who did that need to be held accountable.”

Wray answered that the FBI is having "extensive interaction with both intelligence committees on our interaction with the FISA court." Jordan said he wants a special counsel to investigate how a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant was obtained to surveil members of President Trump's campaign team. On Fox News, Jordan said, “The only logical way to get to the answers for the American people is to appoint a second special counsel. And if the attorney general is not going to do it, frankly, I don’t think he should be the attorney general.”

Fellow Republican Rep.Trey Gowdy (SC) praised the FBI and Justice Department during his questioning, and added, “Unfortunately, the last two years have not been good years for the bureau, and they have not been good years for the department.”

Speaking to Wray, Gowdy spoke of the 2016 secret meeting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch held with Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in the days before then-FBI Director James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton of her “extremely careless” handling of classified materials that preserved her from prosecution. He raised questions about former Democratic campaign donors serving as prosecutors on Mueller’s team.

Partial transcript:

“We’ve had the director of the FBI appropriate a major charging decision away from the Department of Justice because he was concerned that the public wouldn’t have confidence if the Department of Justice handled that decision themselves.

“We had an FBI director write two politically volatile letters weeks before an election. We had an FBI director memorialize conversations he had with the president of the United States, because he didn’t trust the president’s recall of those conversations.

“I think what frustrates some folks is when Director Comey wanted a special counsel for President Trump, he leaked. When he didn’t have confidence in Loretta Lynch, he didn’t leak. … We’ve had an acting [attorney general] fired. We’ve had an FBI director fired. And we can’t manage to find prosecutors who haven’t donated to presidential candidates.”

Reacting to the hearing, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett told Sean Hannity that the FBI has become “America's secret police" and that special counsel Mueller is using the government as a "political weapon."

Jarrett said, "The FBI is a shadow government now," adding, "It has become highly politicized." "I think we now know that the Mueller investigation is illegitimate and corrupt," Jarrett told Hannity. "And Mueller has been using the FBI as a political weapon. And the FBI has become America's secret police. Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment, and threats. It's like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of the night banging through your door."

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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