Rod Rosenstein told Congress on Wednesday that he was not sure that he had read the entire FISA renewal application to surveil Carter Page.
Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general during the Obama administration, made the comments during testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee hearing touched in part on the FBI’s application to surveil Page in 2016 while he was working as a Trump-campaign adviser.
“There are a lot of FISA applications that come through, some more significant than others,” Rosenstein said in response to a question from Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah). “This one was unusual in that I already knew about it because of the Russia investigation…I’m not sure I read every page, but I was familiar with what was in it.”
Rosenstein said that according to his recollection, the unredacted version of the application “was actually fairly persuasive, and it had already been approved three times. This was just a reauthorization.”
In December 2019, the Justice Department’s Inspector General wrote that the FBI had omitted crucial details in their application to monitor Page, and that agents had not disclosed the unreliable nature of the evidence contained in the Steele dossier. The dossier, compiled by former British agent Christopher Steele, alleged that Trump and other campaign officials may have been compromised by Russian operatives. It has since emerged that Steele may have included Russian disinformation in his report.
At the Wednesday hearing, Rosenstein told senators that he would not have signed the application if he had known that the evidence behind it was faulty.
“Every application I approved appeared to be justified based on the facts it alleged,” Rosenstein said.