Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz rejected former FBI Director James Comey's recent claim that the IG report on potential abuses in the Russia investigation "vindicated" Comey — or anyone else, for that matter.
Horowitz was asked about Comey's assessment by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) during Wednesday's hearing.
"I think the activities we found here don't vindicate anybody who touched this," Horowitz answered.
The Washington Post published an op-ed Monday written by Comey titled, "The truth is finally out. The FBI fulfilled its mission." In the piece, Comey focused on the broader conclusion by Horowitz that the investigation was initiated and carried out without political bias against the president. He wrote:
But most important, Horowitz's report found that the investigation was opened and conducted according to the rules, finding no "evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced [the] decision" to start it or how to run it. Those of us who knew that truth had to remain silent while a torrent of smears and falsehoods flowed from the White House, from some congressional committee chairmen, the attorney general and Fox News personalities.
Comey acknowledged another key finding of the report, that there were 17 errors involving the FISA warrant applications used to authorize surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, but dismissed those as "unfortunate" and a "chance to learn."
Horowitz described those errors a bit more severely, saying they represented a failure of "not only the operational team, but also of the managers and supervisors, including senior officials, in the chain of command."
The report did not, however, conclude that the errors indicate that the surveillance of Page in the investigation was unjustified. But, Horowitz will conduct a separate investigation of the FISA warrant process to determine whether those errors were isolated or systematic.
"We do not speculate whether the correction of any particular misstatement or omission, or some combination thereof, would have resulted in a different outcome," the report read. "Nevertheless, the Department's decision-makers and the court should have been given complete and accurate information so that they could meaningfully evaluate probable cause before authorizing the surveillance of a U.S. person associated with a presidential campaign."