Even more damning, Horowitz explained that Durham did not exactly disagree with Horowitz’s conclusion that the investigation into Russia was justified. Rather, Durham had a technical objection, namely “a difference of opinion about whether the FBI should have opened a preliminary investigation, which puts some limitations on the investigative steps that can be taken, or a full investigation.” Once more political appointees of the Justice Department, led by Attorney General William Barr, have misled the American people to smear the intelligence community and offer a specious defense of Trump.
In other eye-popping testimony, Horowitz let on that there is an ongoing investigation into the FBI’s anti-Hillary Clinton leaks during the 2016 campaign regarding investigation into her handling of emails. “We are investigating those contacts. We’ve issued a couple of public summaries so far about people we’ve found violated FBI policy,” he said. “We have other investigations ongoing.” He also appeared to confirm publicly for the first time that one of the people receiving unauthorized leaks was Giuliani.
In other words, political bias in the FBI may have played a role in the 2016 campaign — to the detriment of Clinton. But then we already knew that former FBI director James Comey 11 days before the election re-raised the email issue without any justification, eventually finding “new” evidence was not relevant.
It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that Horowitz exonerated the FBI. Far from it, he found serious violations and lack of candor in the FISA warrant requests that did not include recognition that much of the Steele dossier was inaccurate. That said, since Carter Page was not the trigger for the investigation into Russian interference, this does not support Republicans’ ever-evolving, fact-free conspiracy theories.
In just one example of the GOP’s dishonest spin, committee chairman Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) once more excoriated FBI counsel Lisa Page and agent Peter Strzok for messages voicing their political, anti-Trump views. What he failed to mention was a finding by Horowitz that none of that figured in the conduct or conclusion of the Russia investigation. Graham seems to be deliberately omitting critical information and arguing that FBI agents are not permitted to have political opinions at odds with a politician they are investigating, a position that would lead to McCarthy-like inquiries into officials’ personal political views.
In sum, Horowitz remains resolute that the conspiracy theories are groundless. He does not, however, deliver a clean bill of health to the FBI either in the FISA process or, we now learn, in leaking anti-Clinton information.