Watchdog Report: FBI’s Russia Probe Justified, Barr Disagrees

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The cover page of the report issued by the Department of Justice inspector general is photographed in Washington, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. The report on the origins of the Russia probe found no evidence of political bias, despite performance failures. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI was justified in opening its investigation into ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia and did not act with political bias, despite “serious performance failures” up the bureau’s chain of command, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog said in a highly anticipated report Monday. The findings undercut President Donald Trump’s claim that he was the target of a “witch hunt.”

Yet its nuanced conclusions deny a clear-cut vindication for Trump’s supporters or critics. It rejects theories and criticism spread by Trump and his supporters while also finding errors and misjudgments likely to be exploited by Republican allies as the president faces a probable impeachment vote this month.

The president has also sought to downplay expectations, saying repeatedly that he was more eager for the report of John Durham, the hand-picked prosecutor selected by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a separate review of the Russia probe.

Barr rejected the inspector general’s conclusion that there was sufficient evidence to open the investigation.

“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,” Barr said in a statement.

The inspector general identified 17 “significant inaccuracies or omissions” in applications for a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and subsequent warrant renewals. The errors, the watchdog said, resulted in “applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.”

But the report also found the bureau was justified in eavesdropping on Page and that there was not documented or testimonial evidence of any political bias.

Republicans have long criticized the process since the FBI relied in part on opposition research from a former British spy, Christopher Steele, whose work was financed by Democrats and the Clinton campaign, and that fact was not disclosed to the judges who approved the warrant.

The watchdog found that the FBI had overstated the significance of Steele’s past work as an informant, omitted information about one of Steele’s sources who Steele had called a “boaster” and who Steele said the source “may engage in some embellishment.”

The report’s release, coming the same day as a House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing centered on the president’s interactions with Ukraine, brought fresh attention to the legal and political investigations that have entangled the White House from the moment Trump took office.

The FBI’s Russia investigation, which was ultimately taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller, began in July 2016 after the FBI learned that a former Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, had been saying before it was publicly known that Russia had dirt on Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the form of stolen emails. Those emails, which were hacked from Democratic email accounts by Russian intelligence operatives, were released by WikiLeaks in the weeks before the election in what U.S. officials have said was an effort to harm Clinton’s campaign and help Trump.

The report says the FBI was authorized to open the investigation about the basis for opening the investigation to protect against a national security threat.

Months later, the FBI sought and received the Page warrant. Officials were concerned that Page was being targeted for recruitment by the Russian government, though he has denied wrongdoing and has never been charged with a crime.

THE REPORT CAN BE READ HERE

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Barr rejected the inspector general’s conclusion that there was sufficient evidence to open the investigation.

    The esteemed legal scholars on this panel love to point to seasoned career diplomates and employees as a source of proof to validate their argument. Barr is an experienced seasoned law professional and has worked under Bush as well.

    • Inspector general is Trumps employee not career bs of yours. He could have fired him any time in the last 3 years , the same way he did to most of his hire’s etc. Its not teh “estemed legal scholars on this panel” fault that his own people dont believe him or trust him. I bet a $ if you would work for him a week or more you would also turn against him. Almost all witnesses on the Impeachment trial were hired and worked for trump not the Fake News or Dems. This is why AMERICA is a great country, people are allowed and encouraged to say the truth all the time. Warning: Dont tell I didnt warn you on this. Nixon put 3 Judges on the SCOTUS and all 3 voted against him on the tapes what eneded his Presidency. ALL 3. Berger, Poweell and Blackmun Cant wait for the SCOTUS ruling on his Tax Returnes.

    • Barr seems to have been acting as Trump’s personal lawyer since the day he was sworn in. Unlike Comey he must have taken an oath of loyalty to Donald J Trump

      • NIce talking point . Or maybe Barr just sees nothing wrong in Trump . Why is it that if an AG doesn’t conform to what you and the liberals want , he is automatically acting as a lawyer ? Barr is an expiernced diplomat who knows what’s right or wrong

    • Barr is a partisan political appointee who has previously made very clear his inability to parse facts as they apply to this president. To help folks jog their memory, he also falsely claimed the Mueller report exonerated the President of wrongdoing, when in fact, that report made no such conclusion.

  2. Horowitz blasted the FBI but could not find a witness to corroborate intentional wrongdoing. Durham just released an attack on Horowitz’s report anyway. Stay tuned, swamp crocs.

    • From Fauxnews, this is what Durham said:

      “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,” U.S. Attorney John Durham said in a statement.

      I guess this is what you consider an “attack.” Seems like a nothing statement from Durham as it provides no details to even allow a proper response (it is nothing more than some fellow saying, “Trust me” without providing any reason to in the first place).

  3. In the released report are 17 problems with fisa based on Hillary paid for op research And yes he sites this as well pages 122-123-124 as in verifiable as well as not telling g court it was paid for by dnc and Hillary but hey when you work for congress and they are your boss guess you do what they want

    • So there were problems identified? Pretty hard to imagine any process with numerous people involved that everything runs perfectly. In any case, with the problems identified, the IG concluded that there was sufficient basis for the investigation.

      Much like in the impeachment, since this report does not support Trump’s narrative, you will focus on minor details that would have made no difference to the end result, because you have nothing else.

  4. Comey – TRump 1 : 0 Comey is clean under the (Republican) Justice Dept Investigation of 2 years. Not a single witness testified against him. Trump is under Indictment ( in 3-4 days. ) after just a few week of Congressional Investigations. Treason , Obstruction of Justice . Many many witnesses mostly Republicans hired by Trump himself. No way out. 32 indicted 5 sentenced all under the Republican Administration under Trump. I cant even imagine how many more will follow when the Dems take over the Dept of Justice in a few months. B’H Kushner is staying out of it lately but the rest of the crime familia will go to prison. Lock them all up.

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