IG Horowitz details FBI missteps, FISA abuse in Russia probe

Graham: 'Highest levels of government took the law into their own hands"

SKY News
December 11, 2019 - 10:32 am

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., denounces a report by the Justice Department's internal watchdog that concluded the FBI was justified in opening its investigation into ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia and did not act with political bias, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department's internal watchdog will tell Congress on Wednesday that he is concerned that “so many basic and fundamental errors" were made by the FBI as it investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Michael Horowitz's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee comes two days after the release of a report that identified significant problems with applications to receive and renew warrants to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide in 2016 and 2017. Despite those problems, the report also found that the FBI's actions were not motivated by partisan bias and that the investigation was opened for a proper cause.

Horowitz will tell senators that the FBI failed to follow its own standards for accuracy and completeness when it sought a warrant to monitor the communications of ex-campaign aide Carter Page.

“We also identified what we believe is an absence of sufficient policies to ensure appropriate Department oversight of significant investigative decisions that could affect constitutionally protected activity," Horowitz will say, according to his prepared remarks as released by the committee before the hearing.

The report has produced sharp partisan divisions. Democrats seized on the finding that the probe was not tainted by political motivations. But Republicans say the findings show the investigation was fatally flawed. Attorney General William Barr, a vocal defender of President Donald Trump, said the FBI investigation was based on a “bogus narrative."

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the committee and another ally of Trump, echoed that sentiment in his opening statement. He said the code name for the FBI investigation, “Crossfire Hurricane," was an apt title “because that's what we ended up with — a ‘Crossfire Hurricane.'"

“What happened here is the system failed. People in the highest levels of government took the law into their own hands," Graham said.

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