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Byrne: IG report makes it clear Comey’s FBI abused FISA powers

Monday, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said that the “IG report makes it clear that the FBI, under James Comey’s leadership seriously abused the federal government’s FISA powers.” Byrne’s statement was issued after the Department of Justice (DOJ) Investigator General Michael E. Horowitz’s (IG) 434 page report was released.

The IG was tasked with reviewing the 2015 investigation into possible collusion between President Donald J. Trump’s (R) 2016 campaign and the Russian government. The investigation was called Crossfire Hurricane.

“Today’s IG report makes it clear that the FBI, under James Comey’s leadership, seriously abused the federal government’s FISA power to spy on the campaign of Donald Trump,” Congressman Byrne wrote. “This flagrant abuse of the very system designed to protect the Constitutional rights of Americans against a candidate for our nation’s highest office should be deeply troubling to all Americans.”

“As I have advocated for months, we must investigate the investigators and institute new rules and a new process to prevent this abuse from ever happening again,” Byrne continued. “Rather than wasting time on meaningless, partisan impeachment hearings, Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff should summon Inspector General Horowitz to testify tomorrow to begin the process of enacting new protections against political abuse at the FBI.”

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said that “Americans should be gravely concerned” about the FBI’s handling of its investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump.

“Americans should all be gravely concerned by the numerous errors and omissions employees of the FBI made when seeking FISA court warrants to monitor President Trump’s 2016 campaign,” Chairman Lathan said. “Our country is based on freedom and trust as we expect the highest integrity from our government officials. It is unconscionable to discover that members of the bureau mislead the American people. Even the liberal Washington Post reports, ‘FBI officials repeatedly decided to emphasize damaging information they heard about Trump associates, and play down exculpatory evidence they found.’ Their actions were harmful to our country. These types of inexcusable behavior cannot be tolerated in our great nation.”

The IG’s report was not the vindication that Republicans had hoped that it would be. The report did find that the FBI was justified in opening the investigation into the 2016 campaign. While the IG found that the investigators repeatedly ignored exculpatory evidence while highlighting information damaging to Pres. Trump, the IG’s report found that political bias did not play a role in the opening of the investigation.

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The finding that the FBI was justified in opening the investigation likely crushes hope by some Republicans that James Comey, Peter Strzok, and other key actors in the investigation will be prosecuted.

The FBI has announced that it will implement the suggestions by the IG on how it can improve.

Byrne introduced the Investigate the Investigators Act earlier this year calling for a formal Department of Justice investigation into all the actions taken during the 2016 presidential election as it relates to federal investigations regarding President Trump and Secretary Clinton.

Byrne’s legislation would also requires an automatic and independent oversight investigation anytime an investigation of a federal political campaign is opened by the DOJ in the future.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) is a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones (D).

State Representative Arnold Mooney, former Chief Justice Roy Moore, Ruth Page Nelson, businessman Stanley Adair, former Auburn head football Coach Tommy Tuberville, and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions are also running for the Republican Senate nomination.

The Republican primary will be on March 3.

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To read the Inspector General’s report, click here.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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