"Terror babies" Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert thought he could filibuster and bully his way through his time during a House Judiciary Committee hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein yesterday, and wound up failing miserably when Rosenstein was finally given a chance to respond.
As The Washington Post explained, the entire hearing was nothing but a farce, with Republicans doing their best to give the Trump cult over at Fox "news" sound bytes for Hannity and his pals to play in an endless loop, as they badgered Rosenstein to end the Mueller probe.
Apparently Gohmert didn't want Jim Jordan to be the only one who made a complete fool of himself during the hearing. After Gohmert continually badgered and interrupted Rosenstein about FISA warrants and other anti-Trump conspiracy theories he and his party's allies on the right have been pushing, Gohmert ran out his time and Rosenstein was finally given a chance to respond to his rant:
GOWDY: The time of the gentleman has expired. The deputy attorney general may respond.
ROSENSTEIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize. I thought you were asking me questions, sir. I completely understand your concern. And this FISA process is being reviewed by the inspector general.
If he finds some problem with that, we'll respect that. We don't talk about FISAs. It's illegal for us to talk about FISAs. In this particular result, the intelligence community information was declassified, so I'm uncomfortable talking about that. You have to understand in context, sir, that the department had made the decision to disclose the FISA to the house and senate before I got there.
Before I got there. What I signed was a renewal application, approved three different times by a federal judge. It was signed under oath by an FBI agent who attested it was true and correct. If he was wrong, we'll hold him accountable. Let's allow the process to conclude before we jump to conclusions about that. I assure you, sir, I'll be just as offended as you if I find there was incorrect information in the application.
GOHMERT: Mr. Chairman, since we're learned that he relies heavily on people in his team to do these applications, I don't think we can get to the truth until we question Tasheen Gaahar and Trisha Anderson, and that would include why she slow walks the notices of NSC meetings to the attorney general when she's working for the DAG just to make him look bad. We need to get those two people in here --
GOWDY: The gentleman's time has expired --
ROSENSTEIN: If there's any evidence of wrongdoing, sir, by anyone on my staff or anyone in the department, I would expect you to give them fair process bringing the information to my attention or the inspector general's attention. Let's hear both sides and then reach the conclusion. I think what's important to understand -- I understand the FISA process is very obscure to most people. But these are essentially search warrant affidavits.
A federal agent has to swear under oath that everything in the application is true. And then there are review processes within the FBI and department, and ultimately the decision is made by a federal judge. And there can be mistakes, and we'll find out if there are mistakes in this one. It's not a matter of just slapping a document and signing it. It's a very thorough process, and in a particular case, four different federal judges found probable cause. The inspector general will review it, and I'll await those conclusions, sir. I would encourage you not to jump to conclusion that's I or anybody else did anything wrong until we have all the information.
GOWDY: The gentleman from New York seeks recognition.
NADLER: Earlier, I referenced a January 27th, 2000, letter to John Lynder, then the chairman of the rules committee -- of the subcommittee on rules and organization of the House committee on rules from the then- deputy assistant attorney general Robert Rayburn. I'd like unanimous consent to insert this into the record?
GOWDY: Without objection, it will be made part of the record.