The House of Representatives is about to impeach President Trump for allegedly soliciting foreign interference in an election. Ironically, it seems the FBI under the Obama Administration may have used foreign intelligence to interfere in the 2016 election.
On Monday, the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz delivered his long-awaited report reviewing the conduct of the FBI in its investigation into the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
For context, beginning in October 2016 the FBI sought four authorizations from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to surveil Trump campaign aid Carter Page. In other words, to spy on the Trump campaign.
To obtain the FISA warrants, the FBI relied almost exclusively on Christopher Steele’s (a former British intelligence officer) infamous dossier, even though the dossier was made up. As Gregg Jarrett points out at Fox News, “the FISA Court was never told that the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for Steele to put together his dossier – a major omission that clearly should erode the credibility of Steele’s report.”
The IG report found that the probe into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia was “justified.” Yet, the IG report also found that the FBI made 51 procedure violations on their FISA applications, and nine false statements to the FISA court.
This is important because, for context, Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is facing possible prison time for making one false statement to the FBI.
True to form, the media immediately began covering-up any mistakes the FBI made. For example, Politico ran an article decrying speculation that the FBI may have been politically motivated in its actions as a “Russia probe conspiracy theory.” “The investigation was not tainted by political bias and was adequately predicated,” the article claimed.
However, both Attorney General (AG) Barr and the prosecutor he’s appointed (U.S. Attorney John Durham) to conduct a separate investigate into potential crimes by former FBI officials disagree with that claim.
AG Barr released a statement saying, “The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that 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. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration.”
U.S. Attorney John Durham said in a statement that his own, “investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department (as the IG report was). Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
In an exclusive interview with NBC on Tuesday, AG Barr blasted the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. “Our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press. I think there were gross abuses and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI,” AG Barr said.
Despite much of the media’s reporting that IG Horowitz’s report found that the investigation into the Trump campaign was proper and justified, the IG report also found numerous mistakes, and falsities in the FBI’s FISA applications.
Three of the four FISA applications were signed and approved by former FBI Director James Comey.
The investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe is not over. U.S. Attorney Durham and AG Barr will make a final determination on whether to prosecute former senior FBI officials for their mistakes in the months ahead.