Graham: No really, declassification will be a game-changer

Count Lindsey Graham among the “game-changer” caucus on declassification of Operation Crossfire Hurricane data. “They ignored stop sign after stop sign,” Graham said earlier today on Fox & Friends about FBI investigators involved in the counter-intelligence operation, and that transcripts will show that they knew “early on” that there was no connection between Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign. Graham alleges that a handful of individuals abused the FISA court and their authority to swing the election, and now they’re scurrying as the light shines on their actions.

Just how much of a game-changer is still in doubt, though:

“You’re gonna find out the mentality of the people investigating the president. You’re gonna find out exactly what they did, you’re gonna find out [George] Papadopoulos was not working with the Russians. They knew early on he had no contacts with the Russians,” Graham said during a Friday appearance on “Fox and Friends”.

“The bottom line is there’s gonna be a lot of information about, they were warned about still this is a bad guy you can’t trust him. They blew through every stop sign,” he added.

Note here what Graham’s not saying. He’s not accusing the previous administration of complicity in a conspiracy to block Trump’s election. Graham isn’t even suggesting that senior members of the FBI had a malicious motive, although he’s also not explicitly discarding that idea either. Graham’s not predicting that much of a game changer. He does, however, predict that the information will recast the perceptions of Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller report with the public.

Or at least a portion of the public. “I’ll say that you’ll be interested in that,” Graham told the F&F panel about the revelations to come, “and not one Democrat will give a damn.” It’s still going to change the game, Graham says, because the exposure will force Congress to put more guardrails on the FISA process and on domestic counterintelligence:

“I’m gonna look at all of it to make sure it never happens again,” the senator said. “I want to make sure we have FISA laws that can detect when somebody is giving the court a bunch of garbage.

“I wanna make sure we have rules that you just can’t open up a counterintelligence investigation on a presidential candidate without having a good reason.”

Graham added that that FISA court is important “because the people are out to get us,” but “if you can take the law into your own hands for political purposes, it is not good for democracy.”

That would be the most positive outcome of exposing the data behind Operation Crossfire Hurricane, assuming it delivers on what Graham and Trey Gowdy have promised. We need robust counterintelligence tools, but also robust oversight and serious consequences for abuse. If that is what happened in Crossfire Hurricane, the sooner we know that and deal with the problems, the better — especially with another election on the way.