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US DOJ Inspector General Cites “Basic and Fundamental Errors” In Russia Probe




Michael Horowitz, inspector general for the Justice Department, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on December 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Michael Horowitz, inspector general for the Justice Department, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on December 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

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The Justice Department's internal watchdog told Congress on Wednesday that he is concerned that “so many basic and fundamental errors" were made by the FBI as it investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee comes two days after the release of a  report that identified significant problems with applications to receive and renew warrants to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide in 2016 and 2017. Despite those problems, the report also found that the FBI's actions were not motivated by partisan bias and that the investigation was opened for a proper cause. The partisan responses to his report were on display from the outset of the hearing. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the committee highlighted the findings they found most favorable to the points they wanted to make.

Democrats have seized on the inspector general's conclusion that the investigation was not tainted by political motivations. But Republicans say the findings show the investigation was fatally flawed. Attorney General William Barr, a vocal defender of President Donald Trump, said the FBI investigation was based on a “bogus narrative" and he declined to rule out that agents may have acted in bad faith. Horowitz told senators that the FBI failed to follow its own standards for accuracy and completeness when it sought a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor the communications of ex-campaign aide Carter Page. 

With files from the Associated Press

Guest:

Greg Myre, national security correspondent for NPR News