(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, compared former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to Sergeant Shultz, the hapless character in the 1960s TV sitcom "Hogan's Heroes" on Wednesday night.
"Did you ever watch 'Hogan's Heroes?'" Cruz asked Fox News's Sean Hannity.
"Sgt. Schultz -- 'I see nothing, I hear nothing.' That was Rod Rosenstein's defense today," Cruz said.
(Actually, Sgt. Schultz's famous phrase was, "I know nothing.")
"Essentially, he (Rosenstein) signed the papers in front of him. He said he didn't read the FISA application -- he said he kind of read it quickly, but not every word. And he just took the FBI's word for it.
"So the fact that you had an FBI lawyer fraudulently altering documents, he didn't ask any questions. The fact that the Steele dossier had been completely repudiated by then, he didn't ask any questions. The fact that Strzok and Page were wildly partisan and he knew that. He didn't ask questions about that. The fact that the DNC paid for the ridiculous Steele dossier, he didn't ask those questions at all," Cruz said.
"Listen, the reason someone is put in a leadership position at the Department of Justice or the FBI is to lead. And that means if it has been corrupted and turned into a partisan weapon, you gotta ask the hard questions, and sadly what his testimony today was, is that he did not."
Earlier Wednesday, Sen. Cruz, in questioning Rosenstein, showed up lapses in Rosenstein's knowledge of the Trump-Russia case, which he assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
"You just told Senator Lee you read the FISA application," Cruz said. "At the time you read the FISA application, did you know that the primary source behind the Steele Dossier had disavowed it and said it's not true?"
"At the time I reviewed it, and I'm not sure I read every word, but I certainly reviewed it and no, I did not know that," Rosenstein said.
"At the time you reviewed it, did you know that there was significant exculpatory material that was omitted from it?" Cruz asked again.
"Absolutely not," Rosenstein said.
"At the time you reviewed it, did you know that a lawyer on your staff had fraudulently altered the material as a basis for a FISA application?" Cruz asked.
"That lawyer was not on my staff, but I was not aware of it," Rosenstein said.
(The lawyer was on the FBI staff, and Cruz reminded Rosenstein that the FBI reports to the Deputy Attorney General.)
Cruz asked Rosenstein if he knew, at the time he reviewed the FISA application, that the Steele Dossier was paid for by the DNC?
"I don't believe so," Rosenstein said.
"Did you ask any of those questions?" Cruz asked.
"Well, the questions I would have asked, Senator, would have been, is the information represented to me verified, and I would anticipate, Senator, that if somebody knew that it wasn't, or that there were some issue about the credibility of the informant or the accuracy of the evidence, that--
Cruz cut in: "Mr. Rosenstein, when you're going into a department that has been politicized, I understand it's easier just not to rock the boat, not to question the people there. But you were the acting attorney general of the United States and had a responsibility not to allow political targeting.
"Let me ask you. Did it strike you as strange...that the FBI, the Department of Justice was going after a three-star general, the incoming national security advisor to the president who they already said they were going to dismiss the case against, and their predicate for all of this was--is the Logan Act, which you know perfectly well is an unconstitutional law that has never been--no one has ever been prosecuted under in the history of the Department of Justice and should have been laughed out of the room.
"In any responsible Department of Justice, if someone had suggested we're going to go after the incoming national security advisor for violating the Logan Act, which says that an American citizen can't talk to a foreign leader, I guarantee you today, right now John Kerry is violating the Logan Act. Now fortunately it's an unconstitutional law, so who cares? Why did you not laugh this out of the room, and why didn't you get to answers on this? Why did you let this pile of partisan lies consume the country for two years?" Cruz asked.
Rosenstein said, "I would not have been reluctant in any way to rock the boat if I believed that there was something improper going on."
With regard to General Flynn, Rosenstein said he believed that Flynn had lied to the vice president and to FBI agents, and he believed that was the primary issue that was under investigation at the time. "I didn't know all the background that appears in the pleading that was filed by the U.S. attorney in D.C."
"But you didn't bother to ask," Cruz said. "You didn't actually bother to drill in and say show me the background? You know, this may be the most important case we've got in the whole country; let me actually do more than just rubberstamp the document put in front of me?"
"I don't believe I was rubberstamping, Senator, and I fully appreciate your concern, and obviously you always wish you could have done more, but we did have 70,000 cases filed that year. I devoted more attention to this case than anything else, but I still didn't know everything. And so that's the best I can give you, Senator."
Cruz told Hannity Wednesday night that the FBI's Trump-Russia investigation "was from day one a politicized, partisan targeting of the president, of his campaign, of his team -- General Flynn of Carter Page. It was wrong. It was abusive."