While continuing to stand by his finding that the FBI investigation of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was justified and not politically biased, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz Wednesday made it clear in testimony on Capitol Hill that there were serious errors in the way it was carried out.
Specifically, Horowitz said the FBI’s FISA, or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, applications to surveil Trump aide Carter Page were seriously flawed. “I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this FISA,” Horowitz said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The comments cast doubt on former FBI Director James Comey’s assertions earlier this week that Horowitz’s report completely vindicated himself and the agency he ran. Comey wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post and appeared on television repeating a theme that he also tweeted about Monday: “It was all lies,” he wrote.
So it was all lies. No treason. No spying on the campaign. No tapping Trumps wires. It was just good people trying to protect America. https://t.co/9nurCaIBq2— James Comey (@Comey) December 9, 2019
Horowitz detailed some 17 serious problems he found with the FBI’s requests to monitor Page. “I would not have submitted the ones they put in — no doubt about it,” Horowitz said of the FISA applications.
In a 40-minute opening statement, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch ally of Trump, was harshly critical of the FBI, accusing it of acting like the “old FBI” of J. Edgar Hoover, which “had a chip on its shoulder and wanted to intimidate people and find out what was going on in your life and the law be damned.”
“What’s been described as a few irregularities becomes a massive criminal conspiracy over time to defraud the FISA court, to illegally surveil an American citizen and to keep an operation open against a sitting president of the United States, violating every norm known to the rule of law,” Graham said.