Justice Department Inspector Gen. Michael Horowitz details gross FBI misconduct

US Israel news and articles

Former FBI Director James Comey and former acting Director Andrew McCaben finally under intense Justice Dept. investigation

By Kimberley A. Strassel  

Wall Street Journal

Sept. 19, 2019

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz details gross misconduct by officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who first spun the long debunked “collusion” and “obstruction” narrative that liberal and media partisans refuse to quit.

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler held another spectacle hearing Tuesday as part of his impeachment dramaturgy. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski testified to a thronged hearing room and was grilled on Russia interactions and Oval Office discussions. The day produced no new information, yet cable stations broadcast it live and newspapers ran breathless coverage.

A House Oversight subcommittee held its own hearing Wednesday. The room was almost empty; all but a few Democratic members didn’t even bother showing up. Apart from Fox News and a few conservative publications, news organizations ignored it. The featured—and substantive—witness: Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

This is today’s Washington: theater upstaging truth. The headlines go to a long debunked “collusion” and “obstruction” narrative that liberal and media partisans refuse to quit. A press blackout is meanwhile imposed on those investigators—including Mr. Horowitz—who have rooted out gross misconduct by the officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who first spun that narrative.

In contrast to the Lewandowski moment, Mr. Horowitz’s testimony was informative and significant. And in contrast to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s vague testimony, the inspector general demonstrated a whip-sharp command of facts. He was officially there to talk about a standards-and-training panel, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, of which he is chairman. 

The real merit of the hearing was to bring home the magnitude of the leaking and lying offenses by former FBI Director James Comey (as detailed in an August 2019 inspector-general report) and former acting Director Andrew McCabe (as detailed in a February 2018 inspector-general report). It was momentous to hear Mr. Horowitz acknowledge that his office found enough wrongdoing to require criminal referrals to the Justice Department for two successive heads of the FBI.

“Our concern,” Mr. Horowitz said, “was empowering the FBI director, or frankly any FBI employee or other law-enforcement official, with the authority to decide that they’re not going to follow established norms and procedures because in their view they’ve made a judgment that the individuals they are dealing with can’t be trusted.”

Ohio’s Rep. Jim Jordan asked: So this “wasn’t just information going one way; they were trying to get information from the president as well—is that right?” Mr. Horowitz: “That’s what we’ve reported.

You might think an inspector-general report that excoriates the former head of a powerful agency might be worthy of bipartisan attention. Think again. Democrats avoided Comey questions Wednesday, and Mr. Horowitz told Mr. Jordan that neither the Oversight nor the Judiciary committee has asked him to testify on the August report. Mr. Horowitz was also unaware of any request for testimony on his upcoming report on FBI surveillance.

Democrats talk a lot about their dedication to “oversight” and “truth.” And the media keep promising not to let democracy die in darkness. This week’s tale of two hearings proves otherwise.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

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