Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) used the bulk of her time during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday on FBI abuses to attack Attorney General William Barr and push for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz released his long-awaited report Monday, finding serious abuses in FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016, though he did not find political bias was a factor in opening the investigation.
Harris largely ignored the substance of the hearing, and pressed Horowitz to answer questions about Barr, about presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and about the Ukraine, even though his report had nothing to do with any of them.
The former 2020 presidential candidate declared that Barr had attempted to undermine Horowitz’s investigation, claiming that he “embarked on his own personal investigation by meeting with foreign leaders in foreign lands, apparently in search of evidence that contradicts the fact that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to benefit Trump.”
No evidence exists that Barr was on such a “personal” mission, and he has repeatedly stated that he shares the widely-held conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Harris continued by accusing Barr of doing the “bidding” of President Trump with two objectives: “one, to undermine the integrity of our intelligence community” to “cast doubt” on the idea of Russian interference; and “two, to intimidate the men and women of our intelligence community.” She offered no evidence for her claims.
The former prosecutor then asked Horowitz about reports that Giuliani had “asked Ukrainians to help search for dirt of [sic] the political rivals of the president,” allegedly in exchange for helping “fix” criminal cases against the Ukrainians at the DOJ. She claimed that Barr met with the Ukrainians’ lawyers “as part of Giuliani’s plan.”
Noting that Horowitz had already said he was not investigating anything having to do with Ukraine (after other Democrats raised the issue as well), Harris asked him, pointedly, whether he had “decided” not to investigate those issues.
Horowitz reminded Harris that the various inspectors general had written to Congress to inform it they would not investigate the Ukraine issue while Congress was conducting its own inquiries.
Harris pressed Horowitz as to whether he found “Giuliani’s scheme alarming.” He replied: “I think anything like that would be very concerning.”
She then cited reports that Giuliani was recently in Ukraine and wanted to brief the Justice Department. Horowitz declined to offer an opinion, saying he had learned not to rely on news reports before taking any actions.
Harris then brought up the Democrats’ case for impeachment, asking Horowitz whether Barr had followed up on Trump’s request for investigations from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (he replied that he did not know, and it was likely beyond his jurisdiction) and to accuse Trump of “an apparent effort to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election.”
Horowitz said he was not investigating that, and was unsure if he had legal authority to do so.
The junior California Senator, reading from her notes, then asked Horowitz if he was investigating allegations about Republican donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson had lobbied for a change in a DOJ policy legalizing online gambling.
He replied: “I’m fairly confident that we would be barred from doing that by the statutory prohibition.”
Several other Democrats also mentioned Barr, whom Democrats have targeted ever since he provided a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference that stated, correctly, there was no “collusion.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.