Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, let it be known Wednesday that he isn't impressed with the FBI’s and the Department of Justice’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation -- saying those involved were hardly the type of skillful agents found in an action thriller movie.
“What was going on here -- this wasn’t Jason Bourne, this was Beavis and Butt-Head,” Cruz said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Cruz’s pop culture reference was only the highlight of a lengthy tirade where he bashed the conduct of some FBI agents and Justice Department (DOJ) employees during the Trump-Russia probe.
The hearing, which featured the testimony of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, came two days after a report identified significant problems with applications to receive and renew warrants to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide in 2016 and 2017.
Cruz called the report a "stunning indictment of the FBI and the Department of Justice, of a pattern of abusive power." He also said the facts in the report "should be deeply chilling" to anyone who understands them and that the errors made "are grotesque abuses of power."
While Horowitz said on Wednesday that he is concerned that “so many basic and fundamental errors" were made by the FBI, his report found that the FBI's actions were not motivated by partisan bias and that the investigation was opened for a proper cause.
“I think the activities we found don’t vindicate anybody who touched" the warrant applications, Horowitz said.
Democrats have seized on the inspector general's conclusion that the investigation was not tainted by political motivations. But Republicans say the findings show the investigation was fatally flawed. Attorney General William Barr, a vocal defender of President Trump, said the FBI investigation was based on a “bogus narrative" and he declined to rule out that agents may have acted in bad faith.
Horowitz told senators that the FBI failed to follow its own standards for accuracy and completeness when it sought a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor the communications of ex-campaign aide Carter Page.
The report detailed 17 errors and omissions during those wiretap applications, including failing to tell the court when questions were raised about the reliability of some of the information that it had presented to receive the warrants.
“We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams, on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations, after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI," Horowitz said.
Fox News' Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.