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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's testimony on Capitol Hill today painted a vivid illustration of how political actors frequently cherry-pick facts for their own partisan gain.

Why it matters: The dueling narratives aren't mutually exclusive, but it takes some nuance to sort through the partisan hyperbole.

  • For Republicans, Horowitz's investigation into the origins of the 2016 Russia probe provided a bombshell account of how an out-of-control FBI lied to a surveillance court in order to spy on a presidential campaign.
  • For Democrats, the report debunked the conspiracy that President Trump and his allies have promoted for years — that the Russia investigation was a "deep state" hoax designed to take down his presidency.

The big picture: Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz made clear in testimony today that both sides have a point, within limits.

  • Horowitz determined the FBI was justified in opening a counterintelligence investigation after receiving a tip that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had told Australian diplomats that Russia had Hillary Clinton's emails.
  • Horowitz found no evidence of political bias in the FBI's subsequent scrutiny of Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, and no evidence of a "deep state conspiracy" to take down Trump.
  • But Horowitz also counted at least 17 errors in Carter Page's FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) application, including the omission of information that may have helped refute allegations that he was an agent of the Russian government.

What he's saying: Horowitz was "surprised" that U.S. Attorney John Durham, tasked by Attorney General Bill Barr with conducting a more expansive investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, issued a statement disputing the conclusion that the opening of the investigation was properly predicated.

  • The rare intervention has set off concerns that the investigation is being micromanaged by Barr, who attacked the Russia investigation as "a completely bogus narrative" in an interview yesterday with NBC News.

The bottom line: "I think the activities we found here don't vindicate anybody who touched this," Horowitz told the Senate Judiciary Committee, referencing a celebratory James Comey op-ed in the Washington Post.

What to watch: Looking past the short-term political implications of the report, the FISA process — which sees 98% of all surveillance applications approved — could finally face a reckoning.

Go deeper: Read Horowitz's full report

Go deeper

40 mins ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."

Democrats stiff Biden as poll numbers hit low point

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Democrats in swing states and vulnerable districts in this year's pivotal midterms are distancing themselves from President Biden on social media as his poll numbers hit their lowest point.

Why it matters: The digital distance is one sign of the concern candidates feel about a person they'd normally embrace. Incumbent presidents — including one who believes he needs to come to their hometowns to sell his message — would normally be political gold for candidates from the same party.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tesla delays Cybertruck until 2023

Tesla debuts the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla is at risk of falling behind on one of the most critical products in the American auto industry: pickups.

Why it matters: Pickups are the most profitable segment in the business and account for the first, second and third best-selling vehicles in the country. Without a serious pickup strategy, Tesla could miss out on a huge source of future income.