(CNSNews.com) - Two simple questions: How did the FBI's Russia investigation start? And was it started because the Trump "dossier" was presented to somebody at the FBI?
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) asked FBI director Christopher Wray those questions at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, but he got no answers:
"How did the Russia investigation start?" DeSantis asked Wray. "Did (FBI counterintelligence agent)Peter Strzok -- was he -- did he start it?"
Wray answered, "I'm not aware of who started the investigation within the FBI."
DeSantis followed up: "Was it started because the dossier was presented to somebody in the FBI?"
"I don't have the answer to that question," Wray said.
DeSantis asked Wray if he could get back to the committee with the answer:
"Well, if there's information that we can provide that -- without compromising the ongoing special counsel investigation, I'm happy to see what there is that we can do to be responsive," Wray said.
Earlier in the hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) drilled down on FBI agent Peter Strzok, the former deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI who has been reassigned to the FBI's human resources department after the discovery that he sent anti-Trump/pro-Clinton text messages to another FBI agent with whom he was having an affair.
Jordan told the committee that Strzok was a "key player" in the the Clinton email investigation; he changed the wording in Director Comey's letter exonerating Hillary Clinton, swapping the term "extreme carelessness" for "gross negligence" apparently because the latter phrase might have legal implication; Strzok also was a "key player" in the Trump-Russia investigation; he ended up on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team until the discovery of his text messages; and he interviewed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Jordan questioned why someone like Strzok would be selected for Mueller's team -- and why he'd be kicked off it:
"If you kicked everybody off Mueller's team who was anti-Trump, I don't think there'd be anybody left," Jordan said. "There's got to be something more here. It can't just be some text messages that show a pro-Clinton, anti-Trump bias. There's got to be something more. And I'm trying to figure out what it is," Jordan said.
"But my hunch is it has something to do with the dossier. Director, did Peter Strzok help produce and present the application to the FISA court to secure a warrant to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign?"
Wray refused to discuss anthing having to do with the FISA process in an open setting.
"We're not talking about what happened in the court," Jordan said. "We're talking about what the FBI took to the court, the application. Did Peter Strzok -- was he involved in taking that to the court?"
Wray again refused to discuss it.
"Let's remember a couple of things about the dossier," Jordan said.
"The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, which we now know were one and the same, paid the law firm, who paid Fusion GPS, who paid Christopher Steele, who then paid Russians to put together a report that we call a dossier, full of all kinds of fake news, National Enquirer garbage.
"And it's been reported that this dossier was all dressed up by the FBI, taken to the FISA court and presented as a legitimate intelligence document, that it became the basis for granting a warrant to spy on Americans.
"And I'm wondering -- I'm wondering if that actually took place," Jordan said. "It sure looks like it did, and the easiest way to clear it up is for you guys to tell us what was in that application and who took it there."
Wray said the FBI has had "extensive interaction with both intelligence committees" on the FBI's dealings with the FISA court, "and I think that's the appropriate setting for those questions."
Jordan was upset: "Here's what I think, Director Wray. I think Peter Strzok, head of counterintelligence at the FBI; Peter Strzok, the guy who ran the Clinton investigation, did all the interviews; Peter Strzok, the guy who was running the Russian investigation at the FBI; Peter Strzok, Mr. Super Agent at the FBI -- I think he's the guy who took the application to the FISA court.
"And if that happened -- I mean, think -- if this happened, if you had the FBI working with a campaign, the Democrats' campaign, taking opposition research, dressing it all up and turning it into an intelligence document and taking it to the FISA court so they could spy on the other campaign -- if that happened, that is as wrong as gets.
"And you know what?" Jordan asked. "Maybe I'm wrong. You could clear it all up. You could clear it all up for all of us here -- all the Congress who wants to know, and frankly, all of America who wants to know -- you could clear all up by releasing -- we sent you a letter two days ago -- just release the application.
"Tell us what was in it. Tell us if I'm wrong. But I don't think I am. I think that's exactly what happened. And, if it did, it is as wrong as it can be, and people who did that need to be held accountable."
Wray said he will not hesitate to hold people accountable "after there has been an appropriate investigation, independent and objective, by the inspector general."
Later, Rep. DeSantis asked Wray if Strzok was involved in the FBI's conclusion that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election.
Wray refused to answer, saying the question "goes right to the heart of the special counsel investigation."
Enjoying your CNSNews.com article? The MRC is NOT funded by the government like NPR - but as a non-profit, your tax-free contribution will keep the MRC your conservative premiere Media Watchdog! Support us today by completing the form below. Enjoy your article!