On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee discussed possibly holding Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt, prompting a searing condemnation from Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), who snapped, “I think it’s all about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous he is going to get to the bottom of everything. He is going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place.”
Jordan’s blistering speech included noting that Barr had stated there was a failure of leadership in the upper echelon of the FBI, that spying on the Trump campaign in 2016 did indeed occur, and that there may have been unauthorized and political surveillance.
Bill Barr is following the law, and what’s his reward? Democrats are going to hold him in contempt. I don’t think today’s actually about getting information. I don’t think it’s about getting the unredacted Mueller report. I don’t think last week’s hearing was actually about having staff question the Attorney General. I think it’s, as my colleague said earlier, I think it’s all about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous he is going to get to the bottom of everything. He is going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place.
Jordan then segued to what really frightened Democrats:
Never forget what Bill Barr said a few weeks ago, three and a half weeks ago when he testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee: he said a lot of important things but he said three, excuse me, four very interesting things. First he said there was a failure of leadership at the upper echelon, terms he used, upper echelon of the FBI. We all know that’s the case: Director Comey’s been fired; Director McCabe fired, lied three times under oath according to the Inspector General, FBI counsel Jim Baker demoted and left, currently under investigation by the Justice Department; Lisa Page, demoted and left; Peter Strzok, deputy head of counter intelligence, demoted and fired, Peter Strzok, the guy who ran the Clinton investigation and the Russia investigation. There was certainly a failure of leadership at the upper echelon of the FBI.
Second thing the Attorney General said three and a half weeks ago in front of the Senate Finance Committee: Spying did occur. Said it twice. Yes, spying did occur.
Third: He said there’s a basis for my concern about the spying that took place. Maybe the most interesting thing: two terms he used that, frankly, I find frightening. He said there was – in his judgment he thinks there may have been unauthorized surveillance and political surveillance. Scary terms.
We gotta go back to January 3, 2017: Senator Schumer on the “Rachel Maddow Show” talking about then President-elect Trump says this: “If you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
Now, I don’t know if the FBI went after President Trump in six ways, but I sure know they went after him in two ways. The first one is the now-famous dossier. On October 12, 2016, the FBI used one party’s opposition research document as the basis to go to a secret court to get a warrant to spy on the other party’s campaign. That happened. Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, paid Perkins Coie law firm who hired Fusion GPS, who then hired a foreigner, Christopher Steele, who did what? Talked to Russians and put together this salacious, unverified document that became the basis to get a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. They did it. And when they went to the court, they didn’t tell them important things like who paid for it; they didn’t tell them that Christopher Steele had already told the FBI, the Justice Department, that he was “desperate to stop Trump.” And they didn’t tell the court that Christopher Steele had been fired by the FBI cause he was out talking to the press. They did that.
And second, just last Thursday, just last Thursday, New York Times story: “FBI investigator, posing as assistant, to meet with the Trump aide in 2016.” FBI sent someone in, pretending to be somebody else, to talk with George Papadopoulos, who was with the Trump campaign. You know what they call that? You know what they call that? It’s called spying. They did it. They did it. They did it twice, and who knows how much more. And what I know is that Bill Barr has said he’s going to get to the bottom of it, and think about the term he used, again. This is important: political surveillance. The United States of America —
Another member of the committee asked, “Will the gentleman yield?”
Jordan, fiercely, “I will not yield.”
Think about that term. He said he’s going to get a team together and investigate all this. This is critical. And never forget: the guy who ran this investigation, Peter Strzok, ran the Clinton investigation and then launched and ran the Trump/Russia investigation, never forget what he said: “Trump should lose a hundred million to zero. We need an insurance policy.” He told Lisa Page, “Don’t worry, Lisa; we’ll stop Trump.”
This is what Bill Barr wants to investigate. As my colleagues have said, this is the House Judiciary Committee, with the history this committee has in protecting fundamental liberties and protecting the Constitution. Last week there was another important document, document Emmet Flood (Special Counsel to the President) to the Attorney General. I just want to read a couple of sentences: “Under our system of government, unelected executive branch officers and intelligence agency personnel are supposed to answer to the person elected by the people, the president, and not the other way around. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue; it’s a matter of having a government responsible, to ‘We The People.’ In the partisan commotion surrounding the Mueller Report, it would be well to remember that would can be done to a president can be done to any of us.”
And this committee is supposed to look out for that fundamental fact more than anything else. And we are not doing that today.