Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz admitted to lawmakers Wednesday that political bias might have motivated the FBI’s deep-state “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation searching for Russian collusion in the Trump campaign.
Testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Horowitz told Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley that his team did not find there was absolutely no bias impacting the FBI’s FISA warrant applications to spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page.
“Was it your conclusion that political bias did not affect any part of the Page investigation, any part of Crossfire Hurricane?” Hawley asked.
“We did not reach that conclusion,” Horowitz testified.
“Because I could have sworn, in fact, I know for a fact that I’ve heard that today from this committee. That’s not your conclusion?” Hawley clarified.
We have been very careful in the connection with the FISA’s for the reasons you mentioned not to reach that conclusion in part – as we’ve talked about earlier – the alteration of the email, the text messages associated with the individual who did that, and our inability to explain or understand, to get good explanations so that we could understand why this all happened.
Horowitz’s comments came during his second round testifying before Senate lawmakers on the conclusions of a long-anticipated damming report on the FBI’s abuses of the FISA processes seeking warrants to conduct surveillance of the Trump campaign. The more than 400-page report released from the inspector general’s office concluded overall that political bias was not the motivation behind the renewal of the FISA warrants but the report’s own findings fail to support the signature claim latched onto by Democrats and media.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma entered into the congressional record an order from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) rebuking the FBI’s gross misconduct claiming it “calls into question” any warrant that the FBI has ever requested through the FISA process.
Lankford blasted the FBI’s actions detailed in the inspector general’s report as destructive to the nation’s national security courts.
“The FBI not only took our nation down years of turmoil but they’re now calling into question every FISA application and I’m confident every attorney is going to bring this case up and say we can’t rely on the FISA now,” Lankford chastised.
In his opening remarks, Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson condemned the FBI’s conduct and complained the Crossfire Hurricane investigation should have been shut down long before multiple FISA warrants were granted. The DOJ IG’s report uncovered that FBI officials knew their sources from the discredited Steele Dossier provided junk intelligence and yet, still relied on them to renew the warrants for their surveillance operation.
“Had the public known what the FBI knew at that time, it’s hard to imagine public support for continuing the investigation, much less the appointment of a special counsel four months later,” Johnson said.
Horowitz told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that his report by no means vindicated anyone associated with the four FISA warrant applications connected to surveillance of the Trump campaign, including former FBI Director James Comey.