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Watchdog: 'I Had Some Idea' About William Barr

Michael Horowitz testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2019 6:45 PM CST
James Bond Comes Up in Russia Probe Hearing
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Inspector General's report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Michael Horowitz was calm and collected, but fired off a few zingers along the way. The Justice Department's internal watchdog appeared before senators Wednesday about his report on the FBI's Russia investigation—and made it clear that nobody was fully exonerated, the AP reports. "I think the activities we found don't vindicate anybody," he said, rejecting the view of former FBI chief James Comey that the bureau had been vindicated. As expected, Horowitz said the FBI had solid reason to launch the probe but made big mistakes along the way, especially in applying for warrants to tap ex-Trump campaign aide Carter Page in 2016 and 2017. A few moments:

  • William Barr: "He's free to have his opinion," said Horowitz on the attorney general's criticisms of the FBI probe, CNN reports. "I had some idea" Barr wouldn't back him, he added, saying he "didn't take the IG job to be popular."
  • J. Edgar Hoover: Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham criticized the FBI, saying it was like "J. Edgar Hoover came back to life. Trump's time will come and go, but I hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again."
  • Mueller probe: Horowitz said he found no evidence of political bias in the FBI's investigation, but he hasn't looked into the Mueller probe—which President Trump claims was rife with political prejudice. "We're not ruling it out," said Horowitz.
  • Rudy Giuliani: Horowitz's team is still investigating whether the FBI's New York field office leaked information to people, including Giuliani. "This continues to this day," Horowitz said, per the Washington Post. "We are investigating those contacts."
  • Spying? Horowitz "demurred" when asked whether an FBI agent who met to brief Trump—but was also gathering information—was really "spying," per the Post. "It was a pretext meeting that I'm not going to..." Horowitz said, his voice trailing away.
  • 007: Horowitz indicated that Page wasn't really worth an FBI probe. "If you've ever met Carter Page, one thing you will never accuse him of is being James Bond."
  • Horowitz's report: Read it at Axios.
(Or read our excerpts here.)

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