GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee savaged the FBI and Justice Department Wednesday as they listened to testimony from the Justice Department watchdog.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz appeared before the panel to discuss his 400-page report on the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign.
He released a report earlier this week concluding the report was justified, but the bureau’s application to wiretap a campaign figure was riddled with errors and omissions.
Republican lawmakers blasted the FBI and its bosses at the Justice Department, painting them as both biased and corrupt as they probed the Trump campaign.
“What was going on here — this wasn’t Jason Bourne, this was Beavis and Butt-Head,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, who called the report “chilling.”
“These are not typos, they are not small inadvertent errors, these are grotesque abuses of power,” the Texas Republican continued.
Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, said he was “embarrassed on behalf of the FBI.”
Describing the report as “a scathing indictment of the FBI,” Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, assailed former FBI Director James Comey who claimed it was vindication.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Mr. Comey said the report disputes claims by President Trump that the FBI targeted his campaign because of political animus.
“There is no planet on which I think this report indicates that things were okay within the FBI in connection within this investigation,” Mr. Lee said. “And yet stunningly former FBI director Jim Comey took to the pages of the Washington Post to declare that this report, your report, shows that the FBI fulfilled its mission.”
“I don’t understand that. I find it absolutely stunning that he would reach that conclusion. This is nonsense,” he continued.
Chairman Lindsey Graham was the most blistering, calling the Trump campaign investigation ” a massive criminal conspiracy.”
He said agents took the law into their own hands when they withheld exculpatory evidence from an application to wiretap Carter Page, a Trump campaign official suspected of being a Russian agent.
Mr. Page was never charged with wrongdoing.
“What has been described as a few irregularities becomes a massive criminal conspiracy over time to defraud the FISA court, to illegally surveil an American citizen and keep an operation open against a sitting president of the United States — violating every norm known to the rule of law,” said Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican.
He also advised Mr. Page to sue for being targeted by federal investigators.
“I hope Carter Page gets a lawyer and sues the hell out of the FBI and DOJ,” he said.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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