Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been a steadfast defender of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) for his entire career, said he thinks the FISA court should not exist unless the FISA process is reformed to prevent abuses detailed in Horowitz's report.
"I'm a pretty hawkish guy. But if the court doesn't take corrective action and do something about being manipulated and lied to, you'll lose my support," Graham said. "But after your report, I have serious concerns about whether the FISA court can continue unless there's fundamental reform."
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: So the Trump presidency will end a year or five years, I don't know when. I hope he gets reelected. But we can't write this off as being just about one man or one event. We've got to understand how off the rails the system got. I'll leave with some optimism here.
I think Democrats and Republicans are willing to make sure this never happens again. If you open up a counterintelligence investigation on a presidential campaign in the future, there needs to be more checks and balances. I want you to audit the FISA process.
Mike Lee and Senator Leahy are probably the standard-bearers for civil liberties, Cruz, a lot of people, we all care. But these are the two that constantly want to make sure that somebody's watching those who watch us. They're worried about metadata. While I may not agree with all your concerns or all of your solutions, I respect the fact that you care. I hope you won't treat this report as finding a lawful investigation with a few irregularities.
I'm a pretty hawkish guy. But if the court doesn't take corrective action and do something about being manipulated and lied to, you'll lose my support. I know a lot about what's going on out there to hurt us. And they're real threats and they're real agents and they're really bad actors out there. I'd hate to lose the ability of the FISA court to operate at a time probably when we need it the most.
But after your report, I have serious concerns about whether the FISA court can continue unless there's fundamental reform. After your report, I think we need to rewrite the rules on how you start a counterintelligence investigation and the checks and balances that we need. Mr. Horowitz, for us to do justice to your report, we have to do more than try to shade this report one way or the other. We have to address the underlying problem. The system and the hands in a few bad people can do a lot of damage. Thank you very much.
Watch Graham's full opening statement: