[Congressional Record Volume 166, Number 88 (Monday, May 11, 2020)]
[Pages S2332-S2339]

                           EXECUTIVE SESSION


  Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President, in the last several weeks, a lot of 
information relating to the FBI's Russia investigation has been 
declassified and made public. That is in large part thanks to action 
taken by Attorney General Barr and action taken by Acting Director 
Grenell at DNI on declassification of a lot of things that should have 
been declassified a long time ago. Their acts of transparency are 
finally shining a light on the dark corners of the Federal Government. 
The public's business ought to be public. There is too much 
overclassification in the Federal Government. Barr and Grenell are 
doing what they ought to do, and I hope they keep it up.
  In the last several weeks, we have also seen a lot of denial from 
some quarters in the media about the information that has been 
  Also last week, former President Obama said the rule of law is at 
risk because of the Justice Department's dismissal of the Flynn case. 
Contrary to what President Obama believes or the media might say, I 
believe the opposite is true. The rule of law is at risk if the Federal 
Government can get away with violating the Constitution to do what they 
did to Lieutenant General Flynn.
  When it comes to those violations and other misconduct by former 
government officials, Obama and the mainstream media pundits all seem 
to be silent all of a sudden. I have heard no comment from Mr. Obama 
about the independent inspector general's findings that Andrew McCabe 
lied under oath to Federal investigators multiple times or about how 
Department of Justice prosecutors falsely told the court that they had 
produced all Brady material to Flynn. I didn't hear them when the 
Federal Government surveilled an American citizen connected to the 
Trump campaign without probable cause and based on intelligence that 
the FBI knew was questionable at best. There is too much silence on 
something that now is so obvious.
  Since 2017, I have aggressively pursued the Flynn investigation to 
find out more about why the FBI decided to

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interview Flynn, make him a subject of an investigation, and then why 
the Justice Department eventually charged him. From the beginning, I 
wanted to know the facts of the case, and from the beginning, none of 
what I found looked right. Having done good government oversight for 
over 40 years, I know a government foul-up when I see it.
  The public knows a lot more than they did in 2017 when the news first 
broke about this Flynn case. For example, we know that on January 4, 
2017, the FBI wrote a closing memorandum on Flynn, who was code-named 
``Crossfire Razor'' by the FBI. That memorandum said the intelligence 
community could find no derogatory information on the general.
  On the very same day the FBI was ready to close the Flynn case, Peter 
Strzok asked another FBI agent something like this: ``Hey, if you 
haven't closed Razor, don't do it yet.'' So Strzok obviously had 
another agenda. The case was still open at that moment, and Strzok 
asked that it be kept open ``for now.'' Strzok then quickly messaged 
Lisa Page, saying that Razor still happened to be open because of some 
oversight and said: ``Yeah, our utter incompetence actually helps us. 
20 percent of the time . . . ''
  During the course of my oversight activities of the FBI, I have 
uncovered and made public large amounts of Strzok's and Page's 
messages. When reviewing all the faults and disasters of the Russia 
investigation, these text messages are very, very important. They are 
the free expression of these top FBI employees' mindset, unencumbered 
by rules or decorum. They give us a look at what the drivers of the 
Russia investigation actually believed.
  In August 2016, just after the FBI opened the Russia investigation, 
Page said: ``Trump's not ever going to become president, right? 
Right?!?'' She is the one who edited Flynn's 302 summary along with 
Strzok, which contradicted the original 302. Strzok responded to the 
Page quote that I just gave about whether Trump would ever become 
President this way: ``No. No he won't. We'll stop it.'' Their animus 
towards Trump helps to explain why they cut corners and why they didn't 
follow regular protocol in running their inquiry.
  On January 5, 2017, the day after Strzok moved to keep the Flynn case 
open, President Obama met with Director Comey, Deputy Attorney General 
Sally Yates, Vice President Biden, and National Security Advisor Susan 
Rice. At that meeting, they briefed President Obama on the Russia 
investigation. It is unclear to what extent they discussed the details 
of the investigation amongst each other, but given all that we know now 
regarding the fake foundation to the inquiry, it is time we asked: What 
did Obama and Biden know, and when did they know it?
  During the course of my oversight, I acquired an email from Susan 
Rice. She sent herself an email on Obama's last day in office, January 
20, 2017. That email memorialized the alleged contents of the January 
5, 2017, meeting with Obama that I previously referred to. As I noted 
in 2018 when I made the email public, I found it very odd that among 
her activities in the final moments of the final day of the Obama 
administration, that she would write herself an email about a meeting 
that happened several weeks prior about this investigation. According 
to Rice, Obama wanted everything done ``by the book.''
  Of course, we now know that never happened. She also said, in part: 
``The President''--as in Obama--``asked Comey to inform him if anything 
changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share 
classified information with the incoming team.''
  Then, 1 week later, on January 12, 2017, somebody in the Obama 
administration leaked the Flynn-Kislyak call to the Washington Post 
that, for the very first time, ignited rumors about Flynn's association 
with Russians and a possible violation of the arcane Logan Act.
  Now, wasn't this really a perfectly timed leak--one that would help 
to create a fake foundation to interview Flynn?
  Well, guess what happened. Twelve days later, on January 24, 2017, 
Strzok interviewed Flynn in the White House. Prior to that interview, 
Comey chose not to follow normal protocols to inform the White House 
that the FBI intended to interview an employee. Now, we all know that 
the FBI would normally work through the White House counsel to have 
discussions for approval and who would be present at that interview.
  You have seen it on television several times this weekend: Comey 
bragging about getting away with skirting the rules. When he was asked 
in a 2018 interview about how he did it, Comey said--and this is what 
showed up in these last weekends:

       I sent them--

  Meaning he sent the FBI agents to interview.

       I sent them. Something I probably wouldn't have done or 
     even gotten away with in a more organized investigation, a 
     more organized administration.

  According to Comey's former assistant, Comey said: ``We just decided, 
you know, screw it,'' in reference to their breaking protocol with the 
White House.
  Now, I referred to an email that said the President wanted to do this 
by the book. Well, what I just described to you is hardly ``by the 
book.'' Flynn was never told during this interview what he was being 
secretly interrogated for, and the whole thing was done without Flynn 
having an attorney present. In fact, I think I recall they even told 
him he didn't need an attorney.
  Now, we know that the FBI had no real investigative purpose to 
interview Flynn. We also know, based upon FBI notes, that agents 
apparently interviewed Flynn to trick him in a lie so that they could 
prosecute him or get him fired. That prosecuting him or getting him 
fired are very clear in some notes that we got from the FBI, 
handwritten notes.
  Keep in mind that the FBI had prepared to close this case weeks 
before, except it didn't quite get closed because Strzok came in and 
said: Can we keep it open--or something to that effect.
  The FBI already had the transcript of the Flynn-Ambassador Kislyak 
call. They knew exactly what was discussed. So what was the point of 
interviewing Flynn if they already had the transcript?
  Well, lucky for Strzok, the FBI had not technically closed the Flynn 
case. So he figured yet they could lay a trap for Flynn, and they did 
lay a trap.
  In doing so, they didn't warn him that he was under investigation. 
They went around the Justice Department, and I made it very clear how 
they bypassed the White House on interview protocols, because Comey was 
bragging on television about that.
  Under Comey's leadership, the FBI abused government powers in ways 
that our Founders and Framers feared most, because they had had enough 
of George III. They weren't going to let it happen again in the United 
States. That is why they wrote the Constitution the way they did.
  The Russia investigation, in other words, is a textbook example of 
what not to do. At every step of the investigation, the government 
sought evidence to advance it, never got the evidence that they needed 
to advance it, and advanced the investigation anyway.
  That is pretty clearly an abuse of power.
  Let's recall that Comey also leaked his memos of his private 
discussions with President Trump to get the special counsel, Mueller, 
appointed. Comey is pretty smart. He had a plan. It worked. That plan 
worked to get Mueller appointed. Mueller did his work for 2 years, and 
it cost the taxpayers $30 million. In the end, Mueller found no 
collusion and no obstruction, which is exactly the same information 
that the House Intelligence Committee's 50-plus depositions told us. 
Those were done way back--not way back but a little way back--in 2017. 
Mueller finished his job in 2019. That is more than $30 million just to 
reinvent the wheel.
  Now, with respect to Comey, I think it is monumentally important to 
point out a piece of his testimony from 2017, before the House 
Intelligence Committee. Comey said the following:

       . . . we had an open counterintelligence investigation on 
     Mr. Flynn, and it had been open since the summertime, and we 
     were very close to closing it. In fact, I had--I think I 
     had authorized it to be closed at the end of December, 
     beginning of January.

  Now, Comey leaked his memos so that the public would know the 
President allegedly said to him that he

[[Page S2336]]

hoped Comey would let the whole Flynn thing go. That is what the hook 
was to getting a special counsel appointed.
  Not once in Comey's memos did he mention that by the time that 
conversation occurred, he had already authorized the Flynn case to be 
closed. Don't you think that is a material fact that would put the 
proper context on his interactions with Trump?
  Attorney General Barr is exactly right. What the FBI did to Flynn 
cannot be justified by any angle of review. What the FBI did is to 
flout the rules, the law, and the Constitution. Entrapment is 
  That is where the outrage ought to be--not on the dismissal of the 
case but on facts that the case was brought in the first place and a 
good man's life was destroyed.
  Mueller had all these facts. He had documents. He had the Brady 
material. He had the FBI notes and contradictory 302 summaries. He had 
the emails. He had all the information that showed Flynn was set up, 
targeted, and pressured to plead guilty in a secret side deal between 
the Mueller team and his former lawyers, only because he was running 
out of money and the government was coming after his son.
  Flynn did what maybe a lot of people would do when your family is at 
stake. Flynn did what he did to save his family from financial ruin and 
his son from reputational ruin. He did what any father would do for his 
  If it can happen to Flynn, it can happen to you. It can happen to any 
American, and, in some ways, this also happened to a person named 
Carter Page and with the illegal surveillance on Carter Page.
  You know, in this business of self-government and this business of 
constitutional safeguards, we still are in a constant battle between 
liberty and tyranny, and we have seen some tyranny in regard to Flynn. 
My fellow Americans, let's use the Russia investigation and all of its 
shortcomings to forever guard against the tyranny of the Federal 
  On one last thing, people are constantly phoning our offices and 
wanting to know when all the people who did the injustice to Flynn are 
going to be prosecuted, because they think there are two standards of 
justice. You know, they announced yesterday that McCabe isn't going to 
be prosecuted. But Flynn was entrapped to be prosecuted, and how wrong 
that is. A lot of people want justice brought to the people who did the 
injustice, and I think they ought to be prosecuted.
  But even more important than prosecuting him, it is about time that 
these facts get out so the public knows the injustice that is going on 
within our government, within the FBI, in the highest levels of the 
  We aren't finding fault with the people in the FBI who are doing what 
needs to be done to bring law and order to our country, but when we 
have these unusual, illegal, unconstitutional, corrupt things that 
happened to Flynn, it ought to wake up the American people. It ought to 
wake up those of us in government to make sure it never happens again.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.