Sen. Lindsey Graham urged caution Monday about Washington Post and New York Times reports regarding an alleged rift between Attorney General William Barr and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz over the findings of an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe.
“Be wary of The Washington Post and New York Times reporting on what’s coming up with Horowitz. They’ve been trying overtime to spin this thing, to diminish its effect, to downplay it,” the Republican South Carolina senator said in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News.
Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was responding to reports from the two newspapers that Barr privately disagreed with a key finding in a report that Horowitz will release later in December regarding FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign.
Barr disagrees with Horowitz’s finding that the FBI had a legal basis for opening the Trump-Russia investigation in July 2016, according to WaPo and The NYT.
The Justice Department released a statement following the reports downplaying any rift between Barr and Horowitz. Graham also said Barr “has every confidence” in Horowitz.
“I can tell you without any hesitation Attorney General Barr has every confidence in the world in Mr. Horowitz. He believes he’s done a good job, a professional job,” said Graham.
Horowitz will release his report Dec. 9, and will testify before Graham’s committee Dec. 11.
The investigation has centered on whether the FBI properly and legally conducted the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. A key focus of the probe has been the FBI’s applications for surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. FBI investigators relied on the unverified Steele dossier to argue in the warrant applications that there was probable cause to believe that Page was acting as a Russian agent. (RELATED: Here’s What Mueller Found (Or Didn’t Find) On Collusion)
The special counsel’s report undercut that theory by saying that prosecutors found no evidence that any Trump associates were working on behalf of Russia. The special counsel’s report also undercut the dossier’s core allegation of a “well-developed conspiracy of coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russia.
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