Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz is due to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 11 on his highly anticipated report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) at the origin of the Russia investigation.
While you were distracted with the Thanksgiving holiday, selected leaks of the report to the media destroyed multiple GOP talking points about 2016, including Trump’s claim that the FBI spied on his campaign:
The New York Times reported that the soon-to-be-released report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General regarding the FBI’s counterintelligence operation (code-named Crossfire Hurricane) is expected to undercut some of the GOP’s biggest talking points—including their accusation that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.
Per the Times, Inspector General Michael Horowitz found “no evidence that the FBI attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Donald J. Trump’s campaign in 2016.” The intelligence agency did undertake some covert steps as part of their investigation, which the Times describes as “typical law enforcement activities,” including the use of an FBI informant, academic Stefan A. Halper, who met with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The agency also had an undercover agent meet with Papadopoulos, posing as Halper’s assistant. (The FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” operation was spurred by Papadopoulos being offered dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign by a Russian intermediary, Joseph Mifsud.) But crucially, the Times notes, Horowitz “found no evidence that Mr. Halper tried to infiltrate the Trump campaign itself,” and that no FBI informants had ever been directed to gather information on the campaign. The findings will debunk a major talking point on the right that the FBI “spied” on the campaign, which has been propagated by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, and—of course— by Trump himself, who’s referred to the conspiracy theory as “the biggest & worst political scandal in the history of the United States of America.”
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According to the Times, whose Wednesday report builds on previous previews of the I.G. report from the Times and Washington Post, Horowitz has also dismantled several of the GOP’s other spurious 2016 claims, including the suggestion that Mifsud, who offered Papadopoulos dirt on Clinton, was himself an FBI informant. Papadopoulos, who was convicted for lying to FBI agents about his conversations with Mifsud, helped spread that claim himself, alleging that the FBI and CIA had intentionally used Mifsud to set Papadopoulos up and damage Trump’s campaign. Horowitz is also expected to report that the FBI did not, as Republicans like to claim, rely on information from the controversial dossier compiled by Christopher Steele to open their investigation.
Well, surprise, surprise. Our corrupt Attorney General Willam “Coverup” Barr, who is conducting his own “personal review” of the origins of the Russia investigation, is making noises that, just as he disagreed with the findings of the Mueller Report with his own false summary, he will disagree with the Horowitz report. Barr disputes key inspector general finding about FBI’s Russia investigation:
Attorney General William P. Barr has told associates he disagrees with the Justice Department’s inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report — that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to justify launching an investigation into members of the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, is due to release his long-awaited findings in a week, but behind the scenes at the Justice Department, disagreement has surfaced about one of Horowitz’s central conclusions on the origins of the Russia investigation. The discord could be the prelude to a major fissure within federal law enforcement on the controversial question of investigating a presidential campaign.
Barr has not been swayed by Horowitz’s rationale for concluding that the FBI had sufficient basis to open an investigation on July 31, 2016, these people said.
Well, of course not, it destroys Trump’s favorite conspiracy theory, and we can’t have that!
Barr’s public defenses of President Trump, including his assertion that intelligence agents spied on the Trump campaign, have led Democrats to accuse him of acting like the president’s personal attorney and eroding the independence of the Justice Department. But Trump and his Republican allies have cheered Barr’s skepticism of the Russia investigation.
“Rootin’ for Putin” Republicans are all Kremlin propagandists now. They are disloyal traitors.
It’s not yet clear how Barr plans to make his objection to Horowitz’s conclusion known. The inspector general report, currently in draft form, is being finalized after input from various witnesses and offices that were scrutinized by the inspector general. Barr or a senior Justice Department official could submit a formal letter as part of that process, which would then be included in the final report. It is standard practice for every inspector general report to include a written response from the department. Barr could forgo a written rebuttal on that specific point and just publicly state his concerns.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec finally got something right in a statement:
[T]he inspector general investigation “is a credit to the Department of Justice. His excellent work has uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters.”
And you should disregard our corrupt Attorney General Willam “Coverup” Barr’s Kremlin propaganda spin that is certain to follow to discredit the debunking of Trump’s conspiracy theories.
Then we should begin the impeachment of Attorney General Willam “Coverup” Barr. This man is a disgrace.