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Inspector General Horowitz. Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court accused the FBI Tuesday of misleading it in its applications for the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and ordered the bureau to explain by Jan. 10 what it plans to do to ensure such abuses do not take place again.

Why it matters: It's a rare public rebuke by a court that has traditionally been veiled in secrecy, underscoring the seriousness of the misconduct uncovered by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

What they're saying:

"The frequency with which representations made by F.B.I. personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other F.B.I. applications is reliable.”
— Judge Rosemary Collyer

The big picture: Inspector General Michael Horowitz debunked President Trump's claims that the Russia investigation was politically motivated, but he did find that there were 17 errors and omissions in Page's surveillance applications. That included the altering of an email by an FBI lawyer that might have provided exculpatory information.

  • Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham asked the FISA court last week in a hearing on Horowitz's report to take "corrective action, that will give us some confidence that [the Court] should stick around."
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray accepted Horowtiz's findings in a statement and said he is ordering "concrete changes" to ensure the process is "more stringent and less susceptible to mistake or inaccuracy.”
  • Former FBI Director James Comey also defended the bureau in light of the report, but admitted on the FISA findings: "I was wrong."

What to watch: Horowitz is currently auditing another FISA application, unrelated to the one in question, to determine if there is a broader issue at play about how the FBI is portraying suspects when seeking to wiretap them.

Go deeper: How FISA works

Go deeper

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. fears Iran won’t scale back to 2015 nuclear deal

Officials gather in Vienna on Sept. 29 for the first day of renewed nuclear talks with Iran. Photo: EU Vienna Delegation/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. officials have extremely low expectations as world powers resume negotiations with Iran to curb its nuclear program, believing the Iranians aren't yet ready to negotiate seriously, Axios is told.

Driving the news: Senior officials in the U.S. intelligence community have assessed the new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, thinks of his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, as a weak accommodationist who negotiated a bad deal with the U.S. and other world powers in 2015.