It turns out that the most revealing aspect of the long-awaited Justice Department’s inspector general’s report on the origins of the Russia collusion hoax comes from Attorney General William Barr’s damning assessment of it.
In unmistakably terse language, Barr denounced “a small group of now-former FBI officials” for their “misconduct,” “malfeasance and misfeasance,” and “clear abuse of the FISA process.”
Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz, issued a 476-page report Monday that broadly examined: (1) how and why the FBI initiated an investigation of candidate Donald Trump and his campaign in July 2016; and (2) the decision to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil a Trump campaign associate.
As to the first action, Barr concluded that the IG report “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.”
In plain terms, Barr is convinced that the FBI was wrong to investigate Trump and his campaign, because the evidence was conspicuously deficient. Barr noted that the FBI “pushed forward” with its investigation even in the face of “consistently exculpatory” evidence.
As to the second action, Barr condemned those same FBI officials who “misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source.”
The FBI relied on Christopher Steele as its major source for information presented to the FISA Court. The ex-British spy had assembled his unverified “dossier” of hearsay information from supposed sources that were largely anonymous.
The FBI knew Steele was unreliable, yet the bureau vouched for him as credible. Evidence was concealed and the FISA Court was deceived.
Barr announced that current FBI Director Christopher Wray will implement a “comprehensive set of proposed reforms” to ensure that such egregious abuse never happens again. Wray agreed, telling ABC News that FBI officials “failed to follow our policies, neglected to exercise appropriate diligence, or fell short of the standard of conduct and performance that we expect of all our employees.”
The attorney general’s skeptical view of the IG report was shared by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut specially appointed by Barr to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe.
Durham revealed that “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.”
Durham pointed out that the IG’s investigation was limited to the Justice Department. In contrast, Durham has greater investigative authority and has developed “information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside the U.S.” Horowitz readily acknowledged this on the very first page of his report.
Barr’s harsh criticism of the FBI stands in stark contrast to the findings offered by the inspector general.
Although Horowitz identified at least 17 significant errors of omission in the FBI’s application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, Horowitz opined that the warrant application was “properly predicated.” That is impossible, given the sheer volume of mistakes –and Barr surely knows it.
Horowitz also stated: “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision.” Of course he didn’t. No one is foolish enough to confess to biased decision-making or reduce it to writing.
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