Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified Wednesday that his investigation found evidence of “political bias” among F.B.I. officials who abused the FISA process while carrying out Operation Crossfire Hurricane.
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson opened his round of questioning by noting that Horowitz found that Bill Priestap, the former FBI assistant director of counterintelligence, did not exhibit political bias when opening the investigation into members of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Still, Johnson added that Horowitz “definitely” found other examples of political bias while conducting his investigation. (RELATED: Horowitz Shoots Down James Comey: ‘The Activities Don’t Vindicate Anybody Who Touched This’)
“We found through the text messages evidence of people’s political bias, correct,” the inspector general answered.
Later in the hearing, Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley pressed Horowitz to again confirm that he did in fact find evidence that political bias affected the investigations. (RELATED: IG Report Lays Out Seven Major Inaccuracies And Omissions From First FISA Application)
“I think the scope here is what really alarms me,” Hawley stated. “The number of people involved directly involved at the FBI, the repeated decisions to mislead, outright lie to the FISA court, and the total implausibility that the explanations these people offered you, again, maybe they’re incompetent or maybe they had an agenda here.”
“Was it your conclusion that political bias did not affect any part of the Page investigation, any part of Crossfire Hurricane?”
“We did not reach that conclusion,” Horowitz responded. “We have been very careful in connection with the FISA for the reasons you mentioned to not reach that conclusion, in part, as we’ve talked about earlier: the alteration of the email, the text messages associated with the individual who did that, and then our inability to explain or understand or get good explanations so we could understand why this all happened.”