Department of Justice inspector general Michael Horowitz revealed he was “surprised” by a statement released by U.S. Attorney John Durham on his Russia investigation report.
Horowitz was answering questions from Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein when he made his remark, reacting to Durham’s statement Monday that his office did “not agree with” the report’s conclusions on the origins of the FBI’s 2016 probe.
(Video: Fox News)
Despite noting errors, violations and false statements, Horowitz’s report found that the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign was justified and was not politically motivated, a conclusion that Durham and Attorney General Bill Barr openly disagreed with.
“Did Attorney General Barr provide any evidence that caused you to alter this key finding that the FBI investigation had an adequate predicate?” Feinstein asked Horowitz Wednesday, citing FBI Director Christopher Wray’s acceptance of the report’s findings.
“No, we stand by our finding,” Horowitz replied.
“During your investigation, Attorney General Barr stated his belief that ‘spying on the Trump campaign did occur,'” the California Democrat continued, asking if anything that Barr or Durham provided to Horowitz “altered your office’s conclusion that the FBI did not place spies in the Trump campaign.”
“None of the discussions changed our findings, “the inspector general replied.
Feinstein also asked Horowitz about the statements following the report’s release Monday by Barr and Durham, who was appointed by the attorney general this year to head up the separate investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.
Durham’s statement noted that “we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
In an interview with MSNBC, Barr doubled down on his belief, as expressed to Congress earlier this year, that the Trump campaign was spied on and said: “there was a lot going on around this that is not the subject matter of Horowitz’s report.”
AG Bill Barr clears up IG report spin on MSNBC, unloads on ‘spying’ deep state FBI https://t.co/MfJQVn32UV
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 11, 2019
“But in one area I do disagree with the IG, and that was whether there was sufficient predication to open a full-blown counterintelligence investigation, specifically, using the techniques that they did to collect intelligence about the Trump campaign,” Barr said.
“I was surprised by the statement,” Horowitz told Feinstein, referring to Durham’s comments.
“I didn’t necessarily know it was going to be released on Monday. We did meet with Mr. Durham, as I mentioned. We provided him with a copy of the report as we did others to our factual accuracy review process,” he continued.
“We did discuss the opening issue. He said he did not necessarily agree with our conclusion about the opening of a full counterintelligence investigation, which is what this was,” Horowitz recounted. “He said during the meeting that the information from the friendly foreign government was in his view sufficient to support the preliminary investigation. And, as we note in the report, investigative steps such as confidential human source activity that occurred here are allowed under a preliminary or full investigation.”
“Did either Barr or Durham present anything that altered your findings?” Feinstein asked, to which the inspector general replied simply, “No.”
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