Jordan, Meadows call for DOJ watchdog to testify once 2016 surveillance probe ends

Two conservative House members are calling on the head of the Oversight and Reform Committee to request the public testimony of a Justice Department (DOJ) watchdog once he concludes his probe into the use of surveillance warrants during the 2016 election.

Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanDemocratic Women's Caucus calls for investigation into Epstein plea deal DOJ releases notes from official Bruce Ohr's Russia probe interviews CNN slams GOP for not appearing on network after mass shootings, conservatives fire back MORE (Ohio), the top Republican on the Oversight panel, and Freedom Caucus colleague Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsBen Shapiro: No prominent GOP figure ever questioned Obama's legitimacy Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' Gun store billboard going after the 'Squad' being removed following backlash MORE (R-N.C.) in a letter on Wednesday pressed the panel's chairman, Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse committee heads demand Coast Guard Academy explain handling of harassment allegations Can the Democrats unseat Trump? Democrats slam alleged politicization of Trump State Department after IG report MORE (D-Md.), to secure a date for DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to testify sometime this spring.

"As the committee of jurisdiction for inspectors generalwe write to request that you invite MrHorowitz to publicly testify before the Committee immediately following the completion of his review," they wrote. 

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Jordan, Meadows and other Republicans have long been eager to see the probe's findings on whether federal authorities — who they claim were biased against President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE during the 2016 election — misled a secretive court in order to obtain a surveillance warrant on Carter Page after he left the Trump campaign.

They allege that their anti-Trump animus influenced their actions as they conducted a counterintelligence investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Their letter comes after Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrProsecutors are mainly to blame for the criminal justice crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall MORE testified before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that Horowitz is expected to complete his review in May or June of this year. 

“The Office of the Inspector General has a pending investigation of the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] process in the Russia investigation and I expect that will be complete in probably May or June, I am told,” Barr replied.

“So, hopefully, we will have some answers from Inspector General Horowitz on the answer of the FISA warrants. More generally, I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016,” Barr added.

Barr also fueled GOP claims of surveillance abuse on Wednesday by stating that he does believe there was spying during the election, though he is examining whether it is improper or not.

“I think spying did occur,” Barr said. “But the question is whether it was adequately predicated. And I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”

Though Barr appeared to later change his wording to mean improper surveillance, his remarks sparked immediate outrage among Democrats while eliciting praise among Republicans who say Barr is doing his job.