The “Fox & Friends” appearance was canceled, the Hannity interview never happened, but finally James Comey will face a Fox News host this morning to answer questions about the new IG report. He’s on “Fox News Sunday,” where he’ll be grilled by Chris Wallace about the 17 separate errors committed by the FBI during the Russiagate FISA process and why he thinks he’s owed an apology from his critics rather than the other way around. To refresh your memory, here’s the key bit from Horowitz’s report on how high up the chain the FBI’s negligence went:
Although we do not expect managers and supervisors to know every fact about an investigation, or senior officials to know all the details of cases about which they are briefed, in a sensitive, high-priority matter like this one, it is reasonable to expect that they will take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the facts and circumstances supporting and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight, consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility. We concluded that the information that was known to the managers, supervisors, and senior officials should have resulted in questions being raised regarding the reliability of the Steele reporting and the probable cause supporting the FISA applications, but did not. In our view, this was a failure of not only the operational team, but also of the managers and supervisors, including senior officials, in the chain of command.
For these reasons, we recommend that the FBI review the performance of the employees who had responsibility for the preparation, Woods review, or approval of the FISA applications, as well as the managers and supervisors in the chain of command of the Carter Page investigation, including senior officials, and take any action deemed appropriate.
The inevitable question: How common is this sort of malpractice in FISA applications? If the FBI’s capable of making so many mistakes in a case as sensitive as one involving a person associated with a presidential campaign, how bad are they in more mundane counterintelligence cases? Comey will be on to assure Wallace that this was a one-time thing and that the feds normally run a very tight ship. Literally no one watching will believe him.
Elsewhere this morning it’s all-out partisan war over impeachment, with the House poised to approve the two articles filed against Trump sometime early this week. Appearing for the prosecution are Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff, who’ll be on “This Week” together to make the case for ousting Trump. (Schiff will also guest on “Fox News Sunday.”) Appearing for the defense are a smattering of Trump allies in the Senate: Lindsey Graham is set for “Face the Nation,” Rand Paul will talk with “State of the Union,” and Ted Cruz will follow Nadler and Schiff on “This Week.” Their basic message will be the same but expect some divergence on the question of whether Trump should be allowed to call witnesses as part of his defense. Graham opposes that adamantly, ostensibly because he thinks impeachment is hurting the country and thus it’s a mistake to drag it out but in reality because he sees political peril in litigating Burisma in such a high-profile setting. Cruz, on the other hand, said recently that he thinks Trump should be permitted to call whoever he wants. I’m guessing Rand Paul agrees with that. Whether there are 51 votes for that position — and whether McConnell should force a floor vote on whether to call individual witnesses, given the dicey politics of this — are important follow-up questions.
Pam Bondi, who’s assisting with Trump’s impeachment defense, will also be on “Fox News Sunday” after Comey and Schiff. The full line-up is at the AP.