Liberals can stop laughing now.
After Monday’s release of the report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the FBI’s investigation of President Donald Trump and the Trump presidential campaign, too many media outlets treated the 417-page document as primarily putting an end to complaints by Trump supporters that political bias was at work. (“Debunks” was in The New York Times’ headline.)
But the report wasn’t the last word, by any stretch.
Horowitz provided testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And as Judiciary Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham made clear at the opening of the hearing, the report included some deeply disturbing revelations.
“What happened here is the system failed,” Graham said. “People at the highest level of our government took the law in their own hands.”
Check it out here:
Sen. Lindsey Graham: “Trump’s time will come and go, but I hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again.” pic.twitter.com/q1lnrjnjbR
— The Hill (@thehill) December 11, 2019
In his prepared testimony, according to Fox News, Horowitz was scathingly critical of the FBI’s reliance on the notoriously anti-Trump former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and his anti-Trump “dossier” to make its case for surveillance warrants from the special court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The bureau learned “as early as January 2017” that there were “potentially serious problems” in Steele’s work, Horowitz said according to Fox, and yet the bureau continued to use his contributions as justification for the FISA court’s warrant.
In addition, Horowitz’s statement said the FBI was aware that Steele’s work had been paid for by Trump’s political opponents.
“FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order targeting Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by a Department attorney that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign,” the statement said, according to Fox.
The money for Steele’s work ultimately came from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
While it might be true that the report was not the scathing indictment of the FBI and former Director James Comey that Trump supporters had been looking for, there was plenty in there that should send up red flags for anyone who cares about the rule of law in the United States.
As Horowitz’s statement noted, the FBI was far from blameless.
“We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through the use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny,” Horowitz’s statement said.
Graham’s statement took that further:
“What has 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 keep an operation open against a sitting president of the United States, violating every norm known to the rule of law,” the South Carolina Republican said.
“Trump’s time will come and go, but I hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again. Because what happened here is not a few irregularities.”
No, it’s not.
When the inspector general’s report documents and FBI investigation is riddled with “significant inaccuracies” and “omissions” — and all of those inaccuracies and omissions run in the same direction, it’s not by accident.
Democrats and the liberal media can pretend that the Horowitz report paints of picture of utter rectitude among the FBI’s top leadership, but reality is dictating otherwise.
And there’s nothing funny about it.
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