'Basic and fundamental errors' in Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Trump-Russia ties

'Basic and fundamental errors' in Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Trump-Russia ties

Inspector General Michael Horowitz admitted in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that his report vindicates no one, including Comey. "Was there ever a defensive briefing given by the FBI Department of Justice to Donald Trump about the concerns?"

He also revealed there were "fundamental errors" in the FBI's Trump-Russia probe.

Besides the errors in the warrant application process, he pointedly noted that the FBI had not consulted with the Justice Department before using informants to interact with Trump campaign aides during the investigation, though he also said no policy required it to do so. "It doesn't take much to open [a counterintelligence investigation]", Graham said. Not only was this known to FBI investigators and managers, they relied on Page's work for the other agency as part of their cause to seek surveillance of Page.

Horowitz testified the investigation, named Crossfire Hurricane, was "opened for an authorized investigative objective and with sufficient factual predication" and that there was no evidence of political bias uncovered despite the mistakes.

"Our findings were that there were significant problems", Horowitz said. "This was an attempted overthrow, and a lot of people were in on it", Trump told reporters on Monday. He insisted that the FBI should not feel comforted by his findings while pointing out the absence of evidence for some of the most sensational claims by Trump and his supporters: that the investigation into ties between his presidential campaign and Russian Federation had been opened for political reasons, that agents had infiltrated his election bid or that Barack Obama had directed a wiretap of Trump. Further, he called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to testify before the committee citing a "problem" with his agency.

"They sent one of the supervisory agents from the Crossfire Hurricane team to the briefing and that agent prepared a report to the file of the briefing", Horowitz said.

"I write to inquire about whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation ever provided the Trump campaign with a defensive briefing or other warning regarding attempts to infiltrate the campaign by people connected with, or compromised by, Russian intelligence", Grassley wrote.

"This pattern of facts makes me angry", said Cruz, and frankly we feel the same way about Ted's beard.

"I think the activities we found here don't vindicate anybody who touched this", Horowitz answered.

Attorney General William Barr has criticized the report's conclusions, a highly unusual move.

When Barr took the helm of the Justice Department in February, many predicted the upright, Republican establishment lawyer would restore faith in the Justice Department after the turbulent tenure of his predecessor, former Senator Jeff Sessions.

It was March of 2017 when President Donald Trump accused the Obama administration of spying on the Trump campaign the year before. Barr has dismissed the characterization. Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, echoed Trump's criticism, blasting the investigation as a "massive criminal conspiracy", while rejecting the IG's finding that there was no political bias.

"Trump's time will come and go, but I hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again", Graham said at the start of the hearing. "This continues to this day, we are investigating those contacts".

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