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Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said at a hearing Wednesday that he was "surprised" that U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been tasked by Attorney General Bill Barr with investigating the origins of the Russia probe, issued a statement on Monday disputing some of the conclusions of his report.

"I was surprised by the statement. I didn't necessarily know it was going to be released on Monday. We did meet with Mr. Durham, as I mentioned. ... We did discuss the opening issue. He said he did not necessarily agree with our conclusion about the opening of a full counterintelligence investigation, which is what this was.
"He said during the meeting that the information from the friendly foreign government was, in his view, sufficient to support the preliminary investigation. And as we note in the report, investigative steps such as confidential human source activity that occurred here are allowed under a preliminary investigation or full investigation."

Why it matters: Durham's statement that he did not agree with "some of the report's conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened" was met with criticism by many observers, who argued that it was inappropriate for a prosecutor to comment on an ongoing criminal investigation.

  • Barr defended Durham's statement in an interview with NBC, claiming, "I think it was sort of being reported by the press that the issue of predication was sort of done and over. Even though it was a very limited look at that issue by the IG ... I think it was important for people to understand that, you know, Durham's work was not being preempted."

Go deeper: Read Horowitz's opening statement

Go deeper

Asymptotic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.

Federal judge: Florida ban on sanctuary cities racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing sanctuary city policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.

Biden steps into the breach

Sen. Joe Manchin heads to a meeting with President Biden today. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden ramped up the pressure on his fellow Democrats Wednesday, calling a series of lawmakers to the White House in the hope of ending infighting and getting them in line.

Why it matters: Divisions within the party are threatening to derail Biden's top priorities. After several weeks of letting negotiations play out, the president is finally asserting his power to ensure his own party doesn't block his agenda.