Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz testified Wednesday that he never concluded there was no political bias in the FBI’s abusive investigation of officials connected to Donald Trump’s campaign.
Horowitz appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to discuss his recent report (the “IG report”) on Operation “Crossfire Hurricane,” in which he found that the FBI had misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in seeking warrants for the surveillance of Trump aide Carter Page. The FBI had also relied on the so-called “Steele dossier” for those warrants, even after knowing it was entirely false.
However, Horowitz also concluded that there was no “documentary or testimonial evidence” that the decision to launch the investigation was motivated by political bias. Democrats have seized on that point — even though Horowitz told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he could not rule out bias during later stages of the investigation. He reported, for example, that one FBI lawyer had altered an email from another agency (presumably the CIA) to hide the fact that Page was working for the government,
On Wednesday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) asked Horowitz to clarify the point:
Hawley: Was it your conclusion that there was — that political bias did not affect any part of the [former FBI lawyer Lisa] Page investigation, any part of Crossfire Hurricane? Is that what you concluded?
Horowitz: We did not reach that conclusion.
Hawley: Because I could have sworn — in fact, I know for a fact that I’ve heard that today from this committee. But that’s not your conclusion?
Horowitz: We have been very careful, in connection with the FISAs, for the reasons you mentioned, to not 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 what — to get good explanations so that we could understand why this all happened.
Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham — who is conducting a criminal investigation into the FBI’s alleged abuses — have both publicly said that they disagree with Horowitz about the role of political bias in starting the investigation.
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.