DOJ watchdog testifies on report that scrutinized FBI’s Russia investigation


narvikk/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Wednesday is facing a grueling morning of questioning from lawmakers on both sides of the Senate Judiciary Committee over his nearly 500-page report examining the origins of the Russia investigation.Horowtiz’s report, released Monday, determined the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election was launched with an authorized purpose, despite significant allegations of wrongdoing in how agents handled the counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign.Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham in an interview with CBS This Morning on Wednesday said that he “really believes” that the FBI wanted to “bring down the President.””It doesn’t matter why they did it. I want people to understand that cops can’t cheat. Cops can’t lie. They have to play by the rules, even if you don’t like Trump you should play by the rules because it could be you next time, not Trump,” Graham continued.Similar statements, were echoed by Attorney General William Barr Tuesday, in a stunning interview where he blasted the Russia investigation as a “travesty” and that Horowitz’s findings left open the possibility for “bad faith” on the part of FBI agents involved.”From a civil liberties standpoint, the greatest danger to our free system is that the incumbent government used the apparatus of the state, principally the law enforcement agencies and the intelligence agencies, both to spy on political opponents, but also to use them in a way that could affect the outcome of the election,” Barr said in an interview with NBC News.FBI Director Christopher Wray, in an exclusive broadcast interview Monday with ABC News, lamented “actions described in this report that [he] considered unacceptable and unrepresentative of who we are as an institution.”But, he said it was “important that the inspector general found that, in this particular instance, the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization.”At least one Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee blasted Barr’s theories.“This report shows there was a proper predicate for the FBI to investigate Russia’s malign influence on the 2016 election and contacts with the Trump campaign. That puts to rest President Trump’s accusations of a deep state conspiracy, and no amount of spin from Attorney General Barr, the White House, or congressional Republicans can change that. Barr’s decision to question the report in the media says a lot about Attorney General Barr,” Senator Sheldon“The Inspector General is an important defender against political influence over law enforcement—a regrettable tendency under Attorney General Barr. I hope the Inspector General turns his attention to other allegations of politically motivated investigations by this administration.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.