Congressional Republicans have set their sights on former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan for their roles in the Trump-Russia 'witch hunt' that may have been conducted illegally using flimsy evidence.
In particular, GOP lawmakers along with President Trump are looking to blame the two former intelligence chiefs over the use of the highly controversial Steele report - created by former UK spy Christopher Steele .
The dossier, a shadowy document that makes a series of salacious allegations about Trump, has long been a flashpoint for Republicans.
Some Republicans allege that FBI investigators relied too heavily on it to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Some of the allegations in the dossier have been verified, while others were proven false or remain unsubstantiated. -The Hill
In May, a dispute erupted over whether Comey or Brennan pushed to include the Steele Dossier in the US intelligence community assessment (ICA) on Russian interference. According to Fox News, an email chain exists indicating that Comey told his subordinates that Brennan insisted on the dossier's inclusion, while a former CIA official "put the blame squarely on Comey," according to the report.
According to former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), communications between Comey and Brennan are the key to unlocking the decisions behind the dossier.
"Whoever is investigating this, tell them to look for emails between Brennan and Comey in December of 2016," Gowdy told Fox News's Sean Hannity last month.
Republican lawmakers took Gowdy’s cue.
“Comey and Brennan have made a lot of statements, some under oath, about the origins of the Trump Russia investigation, the timing and role of the Steele dossier and reasons for surveillance of Trump campaign officials. As I’ve been saying for awhile now, some of that is inconsistent with the contents of classified documents and the sworn testimony of other witnesses,” Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told The Hill.
“And more recently, some of what Brennan and Comey have been saying is now inconsistent with one another. As Attorney General Barr said this morning, it just doesn’t jive. Someone isn’t telling the truth,” he continued. -The Hill
Attorney General William Barr has placed Connecticut US attorney John Duham in charge of reviewing the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, while President Trump gave Barr complete power to declassify information linked to the investigation - leading Democrats to suggest that Trump would 'pursue a political agenda' while investigating the politicized 'witch hunt' against him.
"Selectively declassifying sources and methods in order to serve a political agenda will make it harder for the intelligence community to do their jobs protecting this country from those who wish to do us harm," said Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA).
Perhaps Congressional Republicans will focus next on Joseph Mifsud - the Maltese professor and Clinton ally who 'seeded' the rumor that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton.