Richard Grenell is no stranger to government corruption. In fact Grenell, former Acting Director of National Intelligence, tells Glenn how he witnessed corruption within the FBI firsthand. The deception that’s plaguing the D.C. swamp, he says, is thanks to department leaders weaponizing their power, not the rank and file agents below them. Grenell discusses how those leaders are using their stature or ‘crush dissent,’ and he explains why he believes the FBI — and U.S. agencies like it — CAN one day be rid of such politically partisan deceit…
TranscriptBelow is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Richard Grenell. Richard, how are you, sir?
RICHARD: Thanks for having me, Glenn. Is one of my favorite times, is to have a long conversation with you.
GLENN: I appreciate it. You're welcome on this program, any time.
I've got so much to talk to you about, but let me start here first with your thoughts on what is happening with the FBI, between Mar-a-Lago, and now the pro-life advocate, who had the -- the FBI come into his house. Even though his attorney said, he'll come in, any time, just tell us when.
RICHARD: Yeah. It's really outrageous. Look, we have to start and finish this conversation, by saying that the rank-and-file FBI agents are very good patriots, who love their country. Who do not want partisan politics involved in the investigations. No weaponization of the tools of the FBI and DOJ. But unfortunately, the leadership, I saw firsthand, the leadership is not like that. Look, we have a system, whether it's DOJ, or the FBI, or the State Department, or the Department of Defense, in order to get promoted in the swamp, you have to do certain things that the swamp wants you to do. You just tonight get promoted up the chain. Which means pay increases. Which means better retirement. It means a bigger salary and a bigger office. All of those accouterments that we value as humans. And so Washington, DC, has created a system, that unless you abide by their rules, which is woke rules, which is always going after Republicans. This is the system that is created in our bureaucracy, and people are eager to climb that ladder, so they play that game. But I will tell you, we have a crisis, at DOJ, and at the FBI because they have weaponized their power against people they don't like. It's crushing dissent. And look for further, Glenn, then first and second generations, who are the canaries in the coal mine. They have left fascism and totalitarianism. They're the ones on the front lines, screaming about the Democratic Party.
GLENN: I know they are.
RICHARD: The media. And the problems in Washington, DC. They see it. They left it.
GLENN: So can we rid ourselves from it? I mean, you were front and center in this fight, when Trump was in office.
You know it from the inside as the DNI. So can we crush this?
RICHARD: Yeah. We can. And the reason why I say that, is because I -- I staged the rank-and-file. Look, I will tell you a really quick story. When I was declassifying certain transcripts and certain information, I looked at the information. And it was clear to me, it was not a source of how we collect intelligence. And it was not a method on how we gathered it.
And I went straight to the DOJ, and FBI leadership. And I said, I have the authority. I'm going to declassify this information. And both Barr and Ray just really said no. Not a good idea. They started by doing the bureaucratic thing of delaying me. Asking, you know, stupid questions, that just were clearly a bureaucracy. Shoving me off on their deputies, who would then create more bureaucracy. I was no dummy. I knew what they were doing. So I pushed forward for a meeting with the rank-and-file FBI agents, whose names had then clearly attached to the redactions and to the -- and to the classified information blocking, and I -- and I had a meeting. I pushed forward. Looked them in the eye. And I said, why did you classify -- why did you redact this information?
It's clearly -- they looked at me, across the table at the Department of Justice, and said, we didn't -- we don't agree with that.
We didn't want to do that. Our bosses did.
RICHARD: There were wimpy people in leadership, who hide behind the top decisions, by throwing other people under the bus. As soon as I heard that, I said, I'm unredacting this. This is an outrage. This is a cover-up.
And, of course, you know, the leadership was not supportive, but I didn't care. They threatened to -- to sue me, or expose me as someone who is sharing classified information. I said, oh, baloney. I'll challenge you. And, by the way, once I did it. Once I unredacted it, once I released it to the public, and everybody saw that there was a cover-up of the Russian collusion hoax, no one sued me. They threatened to. They tried to stop me. But the reality is, in telling you this story, is that the rank-and-file, know there's a problem. They hate it. But this is their life. They live in Washington, DC. And this is their career. And, you know, everything they know, and their family needs, is in this job. And they will be thrown out. And it will be very difficult for them. So we need leadership change. The long answer to say, yes. It can be done. We need leadership change.
GLENN: Do I have -- do I have Attorney General Barr wrong?
Because I met with him. And I really liked him. I thought he was an honest guy. And, but there were a few things that didn't quite make sense to me. And we've seen nothing come out of the investigations that, you know, he was supposedly protecting. Do I have him wrong? Is he a bad guy?
RICHARD: Look, I'm somebody that recognizes that there are a gray patterns. Everything is not black and white. I sat next to Attorney General Barr in the cabinet. He was incredibly nice to me. He was incredibly complimentary of my brave and courageous work. And I think relatively supportive. But there were times, when he as someone who values Washington, DC, he is somebody who wanted to have a life, still in the Washington, DC, legal circles.
Couldn't get past tradition.
RICHARD: And I think that's the best way to say it. Is there are people trapped by tradition, who don't want to support the outsiders. And to me, Barr failed that test too many times.
GLENN: Okay. Let me ask you. With the DOJ and Donald Trump, I mean, it -- it seems as though, the DOJ was very nervous about what Donald Trump had. And they have gone after him, because he's got something on them. Right?
RICHARD: Because of tradition. Look, the record acts people are total hypocrites. You look at how they treated Obama. And it's completely activity than how they treated Trump.
RICHARD: Think of the records act people, as the ultimate swamp creatures to control.
Here is a group of people, who are literally saying, we bureaucrats, must collect and approve what the president of the United States does.
I'm sorry. That's crazy. The president of the United States, doesn't report to anyone, when it comes to classifying information, or declassifying information.
This is clear in the law. But it's not clear in the tradition of Washington, DC. These traditionalists. These people, well, everybody believes to the record X people. And, you know, we are people that get to control this. It's a control thing.
Washington, DC, doesn't do well, when people throw out tradition, and try to fight for the people, rather than for the process.
GLENN: So did -- was the FBI trying to cover their tracks?
RICHARD: Yeah. Look, on a daily basis, all of the agencies in Washington, DC, including the FBI and DOJ, they classify information when they look bad, so it doesn't get out to the public. You have people like Adam Schiff who play along with this. And who only leak certain information that helps the Democrats. It happens on the right as well.
But what we're seeing is that the swamp attitude, is a protection of the system. And so, yeah. They don't want the bad PR, that they made -- a really bad decision early on with the FISA warrant. There was so many -- there were so many warnings early on, that the Russian collusion hoax was a hoax. Perpetrated by Hillary's people, throughout the government. Victoria new land, who was the assistant Secretary of State for Europe at the time.
RICHARD: Who ushered in the Steele dossier in London. And guess who else was the station chief at that time in London?
Was Gina Haspel, who became the CIA director.
RICHARD: So you've really got this swamp mentality of protecting Hillary, early on. Trying to come up with every way they can, to make sure that Hillary wins.
And DOJ leadership, FBI leadership, playing along, because the system in DC wanted Hillary. She's been Secretary of State.
RICHARD: She was somebody they knew. And she had a team. And the team was --
GLENN: It was also though, because this -- at least it seems to me, that this great reset. This ESG system, is in play, all over the world.
And, you know, I think this is why they're going after anyone -- I mean, look what's happening. Look what happened with -- what was it? The Swedish elections. Now the Italian elections.
People are starting to say, we don't want your central bank telling us what to do. We don't want the government to collude with business and the central bank. It's -- it's not what we're looking for.
RICHARD: And, by the way, by the way, if the European Union or the Central Bank or the Fed were making decisions about the people, I don't think you would see the pushback.
GLENN: You wouldn't. You wouldn't.
RICHARD: But over time. Let's just take corporate America, Glenn. You and I know Republicans have been very supportive of corporate America. Lower taxes. Lower taxes. And chamber of commerce events. And then the corporate America went the way of the media. And our universities.
They're completely woke. They're not for the people. They're for their own power. We all see it. Why are Republicans still wanting to fight, for corporate America, and lower taxes for corporate America?
I'm not there. I'm done with it. I'm done with this woke. Look, I think the counterculture is now conservative.
Because the big man controls the universities. The media. Wall Street. Corporate America. Everything.
If you want to be a '60s hippie that goes after the big man, and does your own thing, you better be a conservative, to this day. This is what Bill Maher is like abandoning the left.