The U.S. Justice Department’s internal watchdog on Wednesday confronted the political fallout from his finding that the FBI made missteps but was legally justified in opening the Russia investigation, telling lawmakers he stood by that conclusion even as Attorney General William Barr and other department leaders have disputed it.

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, was asked about a statement Barr issued shortly after the release of a long-awaited report on the origins of the Russia investigation. Barr contested the inspector general report’s core finding and claimed the “FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.”

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