Democrats have opposed Mr. Graham at every turn, accusing him of abusing his Senate powers to help Mr. Trump and take attention from the ...
Democrats have opposed Mr. Graham at every turn, accusing him of abusing his Senate powers to help Mr. Trump and take attention from the continuing Russian threat. On Wednesday, they said he was unfairly trying to discredit the entire investigation based on one small aspect of it, a dossier of unverified information compiled by a British former spy, Christopher Steele, that investigators relied in part on to secure court permission for the Page wiretaps.
“Those errors were serious, but the errors and the so-called Steele dossier — and this is important — played no part in the broader Russia investigation,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the panel’s top Democrat. She noted that of the 10 people interviewed in the committee’s investigation, not one had claimed anything different.
Mr. Comey offered a forceful defense.
Mr. Comey, who had not testified before Congress since Mr. Horowitz’s report was released in December, remained steadfast in his decision to open the investigation, arguing that the F.B.I. had sufficient reason to scrutinize the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“In the main, it was done by the book, it was appropriate and it was essential that it be done,” Mr. Comey said under questioning by Mr. Graham. “Overall I am proud of the work, but there are parts of it we will talk about that are concerning.”
Mr. Comey described the problems with the wiretap as sloppy and problematic and pressed by Mr. Graham, said he would not have signed off on the warrant applications knowing what he does now.
“The collection of omissions, failure to consider updates, to communicate between the team trying to figure out what’s true or not true in the Steele material and the team investigating Carter Page — it’s embarrassing, it’s sloppy, I’ve run out of words,” Mr. Comey said.
“There is no indication — the inspector general would say it if he found it — that people were doing bad things on purpose,” he added, “but that doesn’t make it any less concerning or embarrassing.”