James Baker: Trump Should Apologize to Federal Bureau of Investigation


Horowitz's office undertook this review to examine certain actions by the Obama FBI and DOJ during an FBI investigation that opened on July 31, 2016, known as "Crossfire Hurricane", into whether individuals associated with the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign were coordinating - wittingly or unwittingly - with the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.

That conduct is now being investigated as a possible crime by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was tapped by Attorney General William Barr to conduct an investigation of the Russian Federation case similar to Horowitz's review. It began in secret during Trump's 2016 presidential run and was ultimately taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Attorney General William Barr, who ordered the Durham investigation, said the report showed that the FBI launched its investigation "on the thinnest of suspicions".

"The inspector general's report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a US presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken", Barr said - as if his opinion is as valuable as that of the man who's spent months investigating the issue. While promising to take seriously the criticism raised in the inspector general report, he denounced the "deep state" nonsense perpetrated by President Trump and his right-wing allies.

Reactions from lawmakers highlighted the partisan divide.

In a chapter of the report reviewing the history of Steele's relationship with the FBI as a "confidential human source", Steele says that allegations that he was biased against Trump from the start of his investigation into the presidential candidate were "ridiculous". "The arrogance that lady had for hillbillies like Jim Jordan from OH, or Mark Meadows from the mountains of North Carolina, or anyone across the heartland who voted for this president, the disdain that she had for us, you know, regular folk", he said. "There's more than enough evidence in this report that would suggest a major overhaul in terms of policies and procedures".

Horowitz says he found no sign that "political bias or improper motivation" influenced the bureau's decision-making - but he makes it clear that the FBI made a lot of outrageous decisions.

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The Justice Department inspector general is expected to release the full report later Monday. "The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, Federal Bureau of Investigation officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source". The findings concluded that the FBI had adequate reason to open the investigation because of valid concerns about Russian interference in the election.

Horowitz released his report Monday of the Justice Department's investigation into potential bias at the helm of the Russian Federation investigation. The attorney general's reaction was especially unusual in that the head of the Justice Department typically would not take issue with an internal investigation that clears a department agency of serious misconduct. The warrant against him was obtained in October 2016, after Page left the campaign. "Steele's handling agent told us that when Steele provided him with the first election reports in July 2016 and described his engagement with Fusion GPS, it was obvious to him that the request for the research was politically motivated", Horowitz wrote.

The Justice Department released a redacted version of the Page surveillance applications past year.

In truth, Mr Page served from 2008 to 2013 as a "operational contact" to another agency, which was not identified in the report.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the inspector general had "completely demolished" some of conservatives' assertions about the origins of the probe, though his investigators did find some problems.

"If Durham was so nonpolitical, he never would have released that statement", Schumer said.