Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) served as the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee throughout 2017 and 2018. Nunes was the first to discover that the Steele dossier had been used by the FBI in their FISA court application as the basis for the warrant to spy on Carter Page. He then prepared what has become known as the Nunes memo which was released to the public in February 2018.
The Nunes Memo marked a turning point for the Republicans. And it was followed up by the Grassley-Graham Letter. These documents provided Americans with the first hint that all was not as it seemed at the FBI.
Christopher Wray began his service as FBI Director in August 2017 and had not been a participant in the counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, he was very protective of his employees and was not pleased by the accusations of FISA abuse by FBI agents contained in the Memo.
Wray issued a public response to the Memo in which he disputed its accuracy. He wrote, “We have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
As you can imagine, the mainstream media ran with it. Adam Schiff, then the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, tried to force Nunes to resign.
In his December 2019 Intelligence Community Inspector General report, Michael Horowitz confirmed the accuracy of the Nunes Memo.
Over the last two years, we’ve seen more of the same from Wray. He has stonewalled FOIA requests for FBI documents and continued to cover up the wrongdoing of FBI officials (mostly former) who were involved in the deep state plot.
The December IG report also identified 17 serious errors or omissions made by FBI officials as they sought to obtain a warrant to spy on Page.
In early April, several of the footnotes from Horowitz’ report were declassified and we learned that the FBI had been aware early on that the dossier was bogus. FBI agents had interviewed Steele’s primary sub-source who said the stories were either exaggerations or outright fabrications. The footnotes also disclosed that Steele may have been fed Russian disinformation. Yet the FBI continued to use the dossier to substantiate their applications to the FISA Court.
Asked what action he would take to address the obvious problems the Horowitz team had revealed, Wray told reporters, “I am ordering over 40 corrective actions to address all of those things in a way that’s robust and serious. We’re determined to learn the lessons from this report.”
In the end, Wray distributed a video to the workforce and followed up with an all-employee email. Wray had set a deadline of April 30 for “the completion of training, including testing to confirm that personnel understand the expectations and the materials.” I posted about this here. That was Wray’s solution to the misconduct of top officials in his organization.
Last month, another IG report showed that the Horowitz team had found significant flaws in 29 out of 29 randomly selected FBI FISA applications.
Republicans dismay with the FBI Director turned into outrage after the unsealing of the Flynn documents last Wednesday night. It had become clear to the world that FBI officials had set up then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for political gain.
Investigative reporter John Solomon, founder of Just the News, spoke to several Republican members of Congress as well as Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, about Wray.
Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ) told Solomon:
There is so much underneath the surface of the ocean, this iceberg that we haven’t even seen yet. And when you get back to Christopher Wray, that is part of my frustration…More has to be declassified.”
I have had access to 302s [FBI interview reports] that I have asked, for gosh a good year or so – and I know others have too – that they would declassify those. And they keep telling us, ‘yeah they are in the process,’ and they never declassify them. They’ve got to be declassified.
More has got to be declassified for the American people to understand why big government, why closed secret courts and processes are dangerous to the republic.
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH) also spoke to Solomon:
Director Wray owes the American people an explanation about the FBI’s misconduct with General Flynn, It’s becoming more and more apparent that the FBI ruined the life of a respected general in its goal to take down President Trump. The FBI’s actions were part of a larger pattern of wrongdoing, which were all directed against the president and his advisers. If they can do it to a president, they can do it to any of us.
Powell came out and accused Wray’s FBI of hiding the truth. She said:
Wray knew about the evidence we were requesting for General Flynn. My request was even discussed in the Director’s meeting. Most of what has been produced so far and what will be produced has been in FBI files all along–now more than three years. If the Prosecutors refused to produce it, he should have taken it to the AG or filed a whistle blower complaint himself. Instead, it would appear he was part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice and Congress, and we don’t know what else.
If lawmakers are waiting for the Wray FBI to suddenly become more cooperative, they’re going to be disappointed. The best remedy, of course, would be to replace Wray as I posted about on Sunday night. Most of my readers say that will never happen between now and November. If Trump were to win a second term, he would likely be replaced.
The only course of action with Wray at the helm is for Attorney General William Barr and Jeffrey Jensen, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri who conducted an independent review of the case at Barr’s request, to simply work around him – as they did last week. None of the Flynn records would have been unsealed if it hadn’t been for them. Barr knows the drill by now. He is the Attorney General and additionally, President Trump granted him full access to any documents from any agency a year ago. He will simply take what he needs.
Wray will be little more than a placeholder.
Update added at 6:45: Reps. Jim Jordan and Mike Johnson sent a letter to Wray demanding all documents pertaining to the FBI’s operation against Flynn.
House Republicans Send Letter to Wray Demanding All Documents on Operation Against Flynn, Provide FBI’s Bill Priestap and Joe Pientka For Interviews