Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Sunday said President Trump’s granting Attorney General William P. Barr broad authority to declassify certain information tied to surveillance activities during the 2016 election doesn’t compromise national security, saying there are legitimate questions still to be answered.
“We’re not compromising national security here — we’re trying to create a system to make sure this never happens again,” Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
He said the idea is to shine a light on the FBI’s 2016 counterintelligence investigation into potential Russian influence on the Trump campaign, as well as the process to apply for warrants issued through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“Did they have a lawful reason to surveil President Trump’s campaign? Did they lie to the FISA court? Every American should want to find that out,” Mr. Graham said.
He said he thinks Mr. Barr can be trusted.
“The people who are worried about this are worried about being exposed for taking the law in their own hands,” the senator said.
Mr. Trump on Friday said he granted Mr. Barr sweeping new powers to declassify intelligence about FBI surveillance of his campaign in the name of transparency.
Mr. Barr has appointed a special prosecutor to look into the FBI’s counterintelligence probe in the summer of 2016 that included surveillance of Trump campaign officials to determine if they were conspiring with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
“I want all the documents around the FISA warrant application released. I want to find out exactly how the counterintelligence operation began,” Mr. Graham said. “I think transparency is good for the American people - not one Democrat seems to care.”
Democrats have objected to the move, saying that selectively declassifying material can prevent the intelligence community from being able to do its job properly.
• Dave Boyer contributed to this article.