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GOP Senators Urge Barr to Declassify Footnotes in Russia-Probe IG Report: ‘The American People Have a Right to Know’

Attorney General Bill Barr during an event with the president in the Rose Garden of the White House, July 11, 2019 (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Two Republican senators on Tuesday urged Attorney General William Barr to declassify four footnotes in the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s Russia investigation.

“We are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes,” Senators Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) wrote in a letter to Barr. “This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation.”

“The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” the senators continued.

The IG report centered on the FBI’s application for a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The report found numerous issues with agents’ handling of the application, so much so that the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued a rare public rebuke of the FBI for withholding exculpatory information about Page from the court and for failing to verify the information contained in the infamous Steele dossier, which formed a “central and essential” part of the FISA application.

“The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable,” the court wrote in December.

The letter does not specify which four of the dozens of redacted footnotes in the report the senators are referring to. One prominent redacted footnote refers to Steele’s relationship with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, which could have conceivably affected the analysis provided in his dossier. Another redacted footnote contains information about Steele’s “primary sub-source.”

Grassley has served on numerous committees throughout his seven terms in the Senate, while Johnson is the current chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the FBI and the Department of Justice probe into the bureau’s Russia investigation.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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