Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday the FBI should have disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court the known political biases of an ex-British spy whose salacious and unverified dossier was used to obtain a wiretap on a key Trump campaign aide.
“Any evidence of bias is supposed to be disclosed to the court” Mr. Horowitz said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I don’t think the Department of Justice fairly treated these FISAs and [Carter Page] was on the receiving end of them,” he continued.
The FBI used the dossier compiled by former spy Christopher Steele alleging damaging ties between Russia and the Trump campaign to secure a warrant to monitor Carter Page, a campaign official.
Mr. Horowitz said he would not have submitted the same FISA application to the court, calling it “misleading.”
Mr. Horowitz declined to say if top officials at the FBI, including former Director James Comey and ex-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, should have known the bureau bungled the FISA application.
“We don’t have a clear record of what they were told,” he said.
But he also called the FBI’s investigation to the Trump campaign’s alleged links to Russia a “failure” by the bureau’s “entire chain of command,” adding top officials failed to conduct proper oversight.
“It is incumbent upon the entire chain of command, including senior officials to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the fact and circumstances and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility,” Mr. Horowitz will say according to his prepared remarks.
In addition, Mr. Howoritz said that he did not receive “satisfactory explanations” for why agents withheld potentially exculpatory information that could have cleared the Trump aide, Carter Page, of wrongdoing.
“We found that offered explanations for these serious errors did not excuse them or the repeated failures to ensure the accuracy of information presented to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court],” Mr. Horowitz said.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said what started off as a few irregularities into the Carter Page wiretap application became “a criminal conspiracy” to defraud the FISA court, illegally monitor an American citizen and open an investigation into a sitting president.
“What happened here is not a few irregularities, what happened here is the system failed,” the South Carolina Republican said. “People at the highest level of government took the law in their own hands.”
Mr. Graham also detailed documented evidence of animosity toward the president by those involved in the investigation, including a slew of anti-Trump texts from bureau officials and lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
“Trump’s time will come and go, but I hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again,” he said.
“Trump’s time will come and go, but I hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again,” he said in a nearly 40-minute opening statement.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee, pointed to Mr. Horowitz’s conclusions that the Russia probe was justified and that he could not find documented evidence of anti-Trump bias among members of the investigative team.
“This is not a politically motivated investigation,” the California Democrat said. “There is no deep state.”