WASHINGTON (TND) — An FBI agent who was a lead investigator on the now-debunked Trump-Russia collusion accusations is under agency review for potentially withholding exculpatory evidence from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court.
Curtis Heide worked at the FBI’s Chicago field office in 2016 when the agency investigated the debunked claims. He spent time working on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation at the time, specifically related to Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos who had been accused of seeking dirt from Russian operatives on then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
Heide admitted Tuesday, during testimony in the ongoing case against former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, that actions taken by himself and others related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation are under review by the FBI, according to The Washington Examiner.
The allegation against Heide is related to the evidence brought forward to the FISA court in an application requesting it take up the Crossfire Hurricane case, and whether the application left out information critical to the FISA court’s determination on whether or not to take the case, the Examiner reported.
When asked under oath if he knowingly withheld the exculpatory information, Heide responded he had not, according to The Examiner.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who investigated the probes into the Trump-Russia collusion allegations, concluded that investigators omitted Papadopoulos “denying that the Trump campaign was involved in the circumstances of the DNC email hack” in multiple FISA court applications, reported The Examiner.
When asked by Sussmann defense attorney Sean Berkowitz if Heide felt the allegations against him were serious, Heide reportedly responded, "that’s an allegation that is still pending.”
In subsequent questioning, Berkowitz reportedly got Heide to acknowledge the seriousness of the allegation, but he still maintained he had not knowingly withheld exculpatory information from the FISA court.
“The FISA court was lied to. Exculpatory information was withheld on those being investigated,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “The investigators, with some notable exceptions, were incredibly biased and used the powers of law enforcement for political purposes. The subjects of the investigation had their lives turned upside down. It is my hope that counterintelligence investigations will be reined in and this never happens again in America.”
Papadopoulos pled guilty in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about his communications with Joseph Mifsud, who Papadopoulos claimed told him the Russians had damaging information on then-candidate Clinton. He was pardoned by Trump in December 2020.