Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz appeared to admit during Wednesdays Senate Judiciary hearings that political bias could have played a role in the abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process to surveil President Trump campaign staffer Carter Page.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) pressed Horowitz on the role political bias could have played in the FISA warrant on Page. Earlier in the day, and in his report, Horowitz concluded that political bias didnt play a role in the FBIs decision to start an investigation into potential Russian involvement in the Trump campaign.
Eventually, Horowitz replied, “I think its fair for people to sit there and look at all of these 17 events and wonder how it could be purely incompetence.”
He also said that he “agrees completely” with the assertion that someone at the FBI needs to be fired. The “culture” also needs to be “changed” at the FBI, he added.
After being questioned by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the inspector general also said he couldnt rule out bias in later stages of the FBIs investigation.
“Isnt the lack of evidence on bias, evidence that we really should take as bias? But its … in any event, its certainly not itself indicative that no bias occurred, isnt that correct?” Lee asked him.
“As to the opening [of the probe], which is in a different place than the FISA issues that you have identified and I talked about earlier, I think it is two different situations. On the FISA side, we found, as you noted, a lack of documentary and testimonial evidence about intentionality, but we noted the lack of satisfactory explanations, and in fact, leave open the possibility, for the reasons you indicated, it is unclear what the motivations were. On the one hand, gross incompetence, negligence; on the other hand intentionality, and were in between—we werent in a position with the evidence we had, to make that conclusion, but we are not ruling it out,” Horowitz replied.
Lee then asked: “The lack of evidence here is not evidence that there is no bias.” Horowitz replied: “I am solely basing it—correct—on the actual evidence that we have.”
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