Former Independent Counsel Ken Starr reacted to the release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’ report concerning the origins of the Russia investigation and the issuance of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants for a Trump campaign official, saying “It is absolutely a sad day for the FBI.”
The Fox News contributor told “America’s Newsroom” host Bill Hemmer that he read the report “with a sense of outrage as well as sorrow.”
He added, “I find it hard to believe that the FBI would conduct itself vis-à-vis the court, vis-à-vis the Justice Department in the way that it has.”
According to the 476-page report released on Monday, investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding the launch of the Trump-Russia investigation or the efforts to seek the controversial FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early stages of that probe.
Despite the inspector general’s finding that there was no evidence of political bias or improper motivation, Horowitz’s report revealed there were at least 17 "significant inaccuracies and omissions" in the Page FISA applications.
“There are omissions before the court in the FISA applications that are so painstakingly laid out by Michael Horowitz, who is a very honorable man, there may be a difference of opinion about motivation on the part of the FBI, but this is the sharpest condemnation of FBI behavior that we've seen since the Church Committee in the 1970s. This is extraordinary,” Starr told Hemmer.
The Church Committee was a U.S. Senate select committee that investigated abuses by the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, FBI and the Internal Revenue Service in 1975.
“And I think the American people will really be stunned and shocked at what the FBI did vis-à-vis people who were innocent, like Carter Page,” Starr said on Wednesday.
“It is absolutely a sad day for the FBI.”
The inspector general's report revealed that, at times, the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was not properly sharing information with the Justice Department or key figures who should have been privy to updated information.
It also revealed that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team indeed used "Confidential Human Sources" to contact and record conversations with Page, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and another "high-level" campaign official who was not a subject of the probe.
Starr noted: “The report is so upsetting about what the FBI did and reforms are desperately needed.”
The former judge said if he was ruling on the FISA court surveillance applications, he would be summoning the FBI and the Justice Department into a closed hearing and demanding answers immediately.
“That's in addition to what Congress should be doing. They're doing their job. It's also in addition to what the executive branch is doing,” Starr said, adding that “this is so serious” that all three branches of the federal government “should be stunned, upset, and determined to reform these procedures in what was Jim Comey's FBI.”
Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in 2017, which abruptly ended a rocky year-long stretch for the top law enforcement officer who came under fire for his handling of the Clinton email probe -- and whose agency has been investigating whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.