Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.
During his testimony, GOP senators had some pointed questions about the results of Horowitz’s recent report outlining the Justice Department’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
What’s the background?
Horowitz’s report was released last Thursday, and contained a number of text exchanges between FBI employees indicating their disdain for President Donald Trump. Some also expressed concern that their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email controversy might have been detrimental to her 2016 presidential campaign.
But ultimately, the IG found that while some FBI agents exhibited anti-Trump bias, the investigation into Clinton was not impacted by those documented biases within the FBI.
How’d that committee meeting go?
Committee member John N. Kennedy (R.-La.) led a line of “can we agree” questions to the IG, asking whether Horowitz believed in the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, and whether or not Jimmy Hoffa died of natural causes. To each, of course, the IG answered that he did not.
Kennedy then asked, “Do you honestly believe that the American people are going to look at this report and look at those emails and not believe that there was bias, and people acting on bias, and that the fix was in at the FBI?”
Horowitz answered: “I completely understand the concerns, senator, and that’s why we’ve laid all this out here and that’s why we found that it impacts the credibility of the handling of the investigation. … What we were asked to look at was whether the specific decisions we reviewed were affected by bias, and those particular decisions here were … made mostly by prosecutors, not by any of the individuals you just indicated there.
“And where there was that concern, which was in October, where agent [Peter] Strzok was in fact a decision-maker, it’s precisely why we found the concern we found.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also weighed in during the hearing, saying that the report described FBI employees as having “errors of judgment, serious errors of judgment, extremely poor judgment and lack of professionalism.”
Hatch added: “In my opinion, this is appalling. The significance of these findings cannot be overstated. [There were] missteps at every level of the Department of Justice.”