Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that he would not have signed a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant renewal for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page if he had known about the future mishandling of the warrants.
The former deputy attorney general confirmed that he had signed the FISA warrant renewal application to wiretap Page in June 2017.
“If you knew then what you know now, would you have signed the warrant application?” committee Chairman Lindsey Graham asked Rosenstein.
Rosenstein replied, “No, I would not.”
Rosenstein added that at the time he signed the FISA warrant renewal, the government still had “reasonable suspicion” that some Trump associates conspired with Russia and had not cleared them yet.
Rosenstein defended his actions in his opening statement and placed blame on the FBI for not “following protocols.”
“Every application that I approved appeared to be justified based on the facts it alleged and the FBI was supposed to be following protocols to ensure that every fact was verified,” he said before citing Horowitz’s report.
“But investigative reviews published by the Inspector General in December 2019 and March 2020 revealed that the FBI was not following written protocols, and that ‘significant errors’ appeared in applications filed in connection with the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
Rosenstein was the first witness in a series of oversight hearings the Senate Judiciary Committee is conducting into the origins of the Russia probe.
Graham announced the parameters for the new investigation last month including “whether Robert Mueller should have ever been appointed as special counsel,” according to Fox News.
Rosenstein defended his decision to appoint Mueller in his opening statement.
“I decided that appointing a Special Counsel was the best way to complete the [Russia] investigation appropriately and promote public confidence in its conclusions,” he said.
Rosenstein added that the appointment of Mueller was “consistent with Department of Justice precedent.”
“Special Counsel Mueller was supervised by the Department, with jurisdiction that was limited in scope and duration,” he said, adding that he had established a supervisory chain of command to review Mueller’s recommendations.
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