Justice Watchdog Testifies Before Congress About His Report on FBI’s Russia Probe

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As the house moves closer to impeaching president trump members of the Senate today questions the justice department inspector general about the origins of the F. B. I.'s Russia probe DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz is report found no evidence that the FBI's investigation of the trump campaign was politically motivated but he also told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that there were significant errors in the FBI's investigation although we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for any of the errors or omissions we identified meanwhile the house Judiciary Committee is expected to convene at seven PM eastern standard time tonight to begin finalizing the articles of impeachment before a float of the full house likely next week Phil Ewing joins us now to discuss all of this he's election security editor for NPR infill Horowitz looked into the FBI's investigation of that twenty sixteen trump campaign and possible ties with Russia Republicans have highlighted that the FBI is serious performance failures as detailed by Horowitz what's been their line of questioning they want to drill down very closely on one specific part of the FBI investigation the surveillance that officials conducted on a one time junior foreign policy aide to truck came Carter page who was the subject of a number of renewals by the foreign intelligence surveillance court from twenty sixteen and twenty seventeen and what Horowitz discovered was as you mentioned there were many problems with air is affected a mission and practices by the FBI and the justice department in getting and then sustaining that surveillance the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham has stroll down very strongly on that as part of what's been a years long effort by him and the president in their supporters to tear down federal law enforcement the justice department the FBI in their view the problems with that case are emblematic of wider problems with the FBI and the justice department and that's been a leitmotif for some time yeah I want to ask you about Attorney General William Barr he's attacked this report several times in the past couple of days what impact hello do you believe his comments had on today's hearing well the ranking member senator Dianne Feinstein of California asked for what's the inspector general about those comments and he said that he didn't have any undue influence from the Attorney General before submitting this report but he also re stated that he believed there was an appropriate predication as he said for the F. B. I. in twenty sixteen to open the investigation into the Russian attack on the twenty sixteen election I mean there really wasn't attacked there really was skulduggery that took place which has been uncovered by investigators and has been the subject of so much focus since then if senator Gramm focused on the details here about the page story the Carter page story senator Feinstein and Democrats want to talk about the big picture that this really wasn't attack that it really was Russia and not another nation has and has become the subject of controversy more recently here in Washington and that the FBI and the justice department and other intelligence agencies were justified in responding to the information they were getting twenty sixteen and trying to figure out what was happening in that report about it to Congress and the American people as they have yeah you've mentioned the committee's ranking member senator Dianne Feinstein and Democrats have focused on the conclusion that ho it's found no evidence of political bias or improper motivation let's hear what she had to say I believe strongly that it's time to move on from the false claims a political bias and those who showed great interest in the question a politically motivated investigations against president trump should show the same concern about politically motivated dated investigations requested by the president or his Attorney General is this hearing today likely to bring any clarity to the ultimate poll well you know point of this report are we just talking past each other Republicans and Democrats the answer to your first question is no among other reasons because there are pages from the horror was report that are redacted and so there are still things about the story about Carter page for example that we do not know because they're continuing to be withheld by the government the other question which senator Feinstein alluded to in those comments you played is that there's another report about the investigation still pending from the justice department Connecticut U. S. attorney John Durham has been asked to do his own look at this he's already said in an unusual statement when Horowitz's report came out that he disagrees with some of the things that are in that report so we have a whole other chapter of litigating about this to look for to whenever Durin's work is complete okay my last question with you for the few seconds that I have with you the mark of the impeachment articles begin tonight what are you watching for well that's going to be a normal process but also very contentious all legislation whether it's naming post offices are impeaching the president has to go through the same practice so Democrats wanted to be by the book but we expect minority Republicans on the committee to make it as painful and drawn out as long as possible with procedural motions and other tech attempts to delay it that's Phil Ewing election security editor for NPR thank you Phil

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