As Senator Lindsey Graham’s chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to come to an end, he has taken the opportunity to release a few transcripts of depositions the committee has conducted of a few officials involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation of President Trump.

The results are as interesting as they are damning.

A Total Hoax From the Get-Go

Crossfire Hurricane was the code name of an FBI investigation conducted into President Donald Trump to determine whether he or any of his associates were involved in any significant way with the Russian government or whether the Russians interfered in any way in the 2016 presidential election.

The investigation was conducted from July 2016 to May 2017. That means that it was underway before Trump had even become president and that claims Trump made about the FBI spying on his campaign—widely ridiculed in the mainstream media at the time—were actually true.

Among the depositions in Senator Graham’s document dump is one of Joe Pietka, a Supervisory Special Agent at the FBI. Pietka was handpicked by Peter Strzok to work on Crossfire Hurricane and ended up heading the team that investigated Carter Page.

Part of what allowed Pietka to secure a FISA warrant to investigate Page was his declaration, under oath, that the information about Trump in Christopher Steele’s memos was true. Steele’s memos are now known to be utter nonsense, and the FBI knew that they were nonsense. This means that Pietka lied under oath.

Originally, however, Pietka did not know that Trump was the target of the information in Steele’s dossier. He believed that Steele should be put through “enhanced source validation” to check his claims.

This due diligence was never done, however. Bill Priestap, Assistant Director of Counter-Intelligence, prevented that from happening. He did so expressly under Strzok’s orders. Without the nonsense in Steele’s dossier, the FBI could never have obtained a warrant to spy on Trump and his associates.

This Was Always Obvious

While these revelations are certainly damning, and while they reveal the clannishness and corruption at the heart of official Washington, they should not really surprise people who’ve paid close attention to the Russiagate saga.

When people like Senator Adam Schiff claimed repeatedly to have absolute proof that Trump conspired with the Russians to manipulate the 2016 election, scarcely a single person in the media ever pressed him for details. Schiff called the only prominent media figure who ever did, Tucker Carlson, a Russian quisling on live television.

Schiff’s case is far from unique. The media never required anyone making these accusations to answer even basic questions that any journalist should have asked. The accusers were not required to provide any hard evidence or even to go on the record. That should have told careful observers everything they needed to know.

Russiagate was always a disgraceful lie. Now there is absolute proof of it.