Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his findings that while the FBI had a legitimate basis to launch the investigation and was not motivated by political bias in doing so, there were major flaws in how that investigation was conducted.
When Congress subsequently subpoenaed documents from the DOJ after hearing of department retaliation against whistleblowers, Holder tried to arrange a deal to not hand over all the subpoenaed documents related to Fast and Furious. Senators from both parties praised a detailed, nuanced report by a widely respected, nonpartisan investigator, while pressing him to call attention to findings that back their positions.
Democrats have focused on Horowitz's determination that a probe was warranted and wasn't driven by political bias. "Barr also breathed fresh life into another of Trump's conspiracy theories - that the FBI's Russian Federation investigation was unjustified and rooted in political bias by Obama administration officials". He rebuked officials up and down the chain of command for failing to update judges as they learned new information that undercut some of their original assertions.
"The activities we found don't vindicate anyone who touched this", Horowitz said. When Trump named him to succeed Sessions previous year, news accounts stressed his service under Bush and his establishment credentials as a prominent Washington corporate lawyer.
That includes, he said, "senior officials".
What's more, Horowitz found that Page had earlier been a source for the CIA and the agency verified as much to the FBI during the course of its investigation - which an FBI attorney concealed from others involved with managing the application for surveillance.
Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder issued a damning indictment of Bill Barr, calling him out for "nakedly partisan" and "deeply inappropriate" conduct that had rendered the President Donald Trump appointee "unfit to be attorney general".
Durham "said during the meeting that the information from [the diplomat] was in his view sufficient to support the preliminary investigation", Horowitz said.
But Horowitz's team "did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open the four individual investigations" into Page, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, former national security adviser Mike Flynn, and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in the summer of 2016.
However, Horowitz identified 17 "significant inaccuracies and omissions" in the FBI's four separate applications to obtain court authorization to monitor former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Remember, Horowitz's report only covered one aspect of the scandal. And the inspector general laid out a number of suggestions for how the internal review and approval process for an investigation of this extremely high sensitivity should be carried out. Barr still accuses the FBI of spying on Trump's campaign, which the bureau denies. Those obligations were not met, Barr said.
COONS: Well, as I said in my questioning of the inspector general, we shouldn't overlook these irregularities, and we should be making a good faith, bipartisan effort at re-examining the FISA warrant process.
"There are significant, serious failures here", Horowitz said.
Even more important, though, is the education Barr gave everyone on the peril of a politicized intelligence and law enforcement community.
The FBI was so interested in keeping Carter Page under surveillance that it manipulated the facts it had to better fit the actions it wanted to take.
"What's going on here - this wasn't Jason Bourne, this was Beavis and Butthead", he said.
The committee chairman, GOP Sen.
"What happened here is the system failed", stated Graham.