All eyes on Durham after rebuke of IG Horowitz’s findings

closeHannity: Barr signals Durham report is where all the action will beVideo

Hannity: Barr signals Durham report is where all the action will be

Reports on FISA abuse and Russia origins set to be released, contain major revelations.

In the hours after U.S. Attorney John Durham announced Monday that he did not "agree" with key findings by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, speculation swirled over what Durham has uncovered in his ongoing review into potential surveillance abuses against President Trump's team.

Durham's inquiry has had a broader scope than Horowitz's, including a focus on foreign actors as well as the CIA, while Horowitz concentrated his attention on the DOJ and FBI.

Additionally, Durham's criminal review has had additional investigative resources not available to Horowitz.

FISA REPORT: DOJ WATCHDOG RELEASES FINDINGS ON RUSSIA PROBE SURVEILLANCE

"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," Durham said in his statement, adding that his "investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department" and "has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S."

Still, Horowitz's report offered several clues as to potential avenues that Durham may be pursuing. For example, Horowitz noted that the FBI omitted exculpatory statements by former Trump aide George Papadopoulos in its surveillance warrant application to surveil another ex-Trump aide, Carter Page.

Even though Papadopoulos told a confidential FBI source that "to his knowledge, no one associated with the Trump campaign was collaborating with Russia or with outside groups like Wikileaks in the release of [Clinton/DNC] emails," the FISA application "did not include the statements Papadopoulos made to this [confidential source] that were in conflict with information included in the FISA application."

President Trump says findings from DOJ inspector general's report are far worse than imaginedVideo

Papadopoulos previously told Fox News he was convinced the CIA was behind an "operation" in which he met with two individuals in London in late 2016 who tried to probe whether the Trump campaign had ties to Russia. He later said he would head to Greece to obtain money in a safe from the FBI or CIA that he said was intended to entrap him.

Additionally, according to Horowitz's report, the CIA viewed the dossier from British ex-spy Christopher Steele as an "internet rumor," even though key bureau officials including former FBI Director James Comey sought to include the dossier in its highly sensitive intelligence community assessment on Russian interference, known as the ICA.

The FBI also relied on the dossier to obtain its secret surveillance warrant to surveil Page, and an FBI lawyer told Horowitz that probable cause against Page was "probably 50/50" without the dossier.

Sources previously told Fox News that a late-2016 email chain indicated Comey told bureau subordinates that then-CIA Director John Brennan insisted the dossier be included in the ICA. A Brennan representative pointed the finger back at Comey.

The ultimately successful Page application relied heavily on information from Steele – whose anti-Trump views have been well-documented – and cited Page’s suspected Russia ties. In its warrant application, the FBI inaccurately assured the FISA court on numerous occasions that a Yahoo News article independently corroborated Steele's claims about Page's Russian contacts, and did not clearly state that Steele worked for a firm hired by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

FORMER TRUMP AIDE HEADS TO GREECE TO RETRIEVE $10G IN A SAFE FROM 'CIA OR FBI'

The FBI told the FISA court it did "not believe that [Steele] directly provided … to the press" information concerning Page. However, Horowitz wrote that he found "no documentation demonstrating that Steele was asked by the FBI whether he was the source of the Yahoo News article disclosure or told the FBI he was not."

And, even after the FBI obtained information that "more strongly indicated that Steele had directly provided information to Yahoo News around the time of the Sept. 23 article," Horowitz found, "no revisions were made to the FBI's assessment, contained in Renewal Application No. 3, that Steele had not directly provided the information to the press."

Separately, Horowitz found that the FBI offered to pay Steele "significantly" for information pertaining to Michael Flynn, Trump's ex-national security advisor who is fighting to overturn his guilty plea on one count of making false statements to the FBI. Flynn, who suffered financial pressures leading up to the guilty plea, has accused the FBI of hiding exculpatory evidence, doctoring key witness reports, and seeking to create a process crime for political reasons.

Much of the Steele dossier has been proved discredited or unsubstantiated, including the dossier's claims that the Trump campaign was paying hackers in the United States out of a non-existent Russian consulate in Miami, or that ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to conspire with Russians.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller also was unable to substantiate the dossier's claims that Page had received a promise of a large payment relating to the sale of a share of Rosneft, a Russian oil giant, or that a lurid blackmail tape involving the president existed.

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Horowitz's report similarly found no evidence to support that bribery claim, even after a review of text messages from a source cited by the FBI.

Horowitz's report Monday said his investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding efforts to launch that 2016 probe and to seek a highly controversial FISA warrant to surveil Page in the early months of the investigation. Still, it found "significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised."

Fox News' Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Original Article

Graham slams FBI methods after Horowitz report, says probe plunged into ‘criminal enterprise’

closeSensenbrenner: The 'surveillance state' is out of controlVideo

Sensenbrenner: The 'surveillance state' is out of control

Jim Sensenbrenner, House Judiciary Committee, blasts Adam Schiff and democrats for abusing subpoena power and obtaining the phone records of Republicans and members of the press

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Monday slammed the FBI's investigation into President Trump’s 2016 campaign as a “criminal enterprise” that got off the rails.

Graham delivered his remarks during a news conference in which he reacted to the long-awaited review concerning the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.

“Let’s assume for a moment it started out okay. It sure as he– didn’t end okay,” Graham said referring to investigators' efforts to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early months of the Russia investigation.

“I believe there will be no debate among reasonably minded people, particularly lawyers, about how the system got off the rails, but in my view became a criminal enterprise to defraud the FISA court, to deny American citizen Carter Page his constitutional rights, and to continue an operation against President Trump as president of the United States,” he said.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., giving his take on the FISA report during an earlier news conference, said the report put to rest any notion that the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign was politically motivated.

“This report conclusively debunks the baseless conspiracy that the investigation into Mr. Trump’s campaign and its ties to Russia originated with political bias.”

Schumer again reiterated that the FBI investigation was “valid and without political bias.”

Anticipating that his Republican colleagues will do their “level best to reject the report’s conclusions,” Schumer pointed out that FBI Director Christopher Wray – a Trump appointee – has “already embraced the central findings.”

US ATTORNEY DURHAM OBJECTS TO IG FINDINGS ON RUSSIA PROBE ORIGINS IN STUNNING STATEMENT

He quoted Wray as saying he did not believe the FBI unfairly targeted the Trump campaign.

Schumer also said it was “ironic” that officials including Attorney General William Barr and Graham, who have praised Horowitz in the past, later questioned the report.

“Because the IG issued a report whose conclusions he doesn’t like, Senator Graham ought not to question what he upheld last week,” Schumer said.

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The report listed multiple errors by the FBI in its efforts to obtain a FISA warrant. The IG probe identified at least 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the Page applications and said a new audit into the FISA process would take place.

Horowitz and his investigators were at times critical of the bureau’s handling of the cast, including for failing to share information that would have undercut claims in those warrants.

Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Original Article

Barr disagrees with Horowitz report on Russia probe launch

closeAttorney General William Barr releases scathing statement on inspector general's FISA reportVideo

Attorney General William Barr releases scathing statement on inspector general's FISA report

Barr says FBI launched intrusive investigation into a presidential campaign on thinnest of suspicions; reaction and analysis from 'Special Report' anchor Bret Baier.

Attorney General William Barr publicly disagreed with the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, on Monday following the release of a long-awaited internal review that concluded the FBI had sufficient reason to launch the extensive Russia probe involving the Trump campaign, although members of the bureau committed some significant errors.

In a statement, Barr shared Trump's views that the initial investigation was invasive and launched on the "thinnest of suspicions."

“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.

DOJ releases inspector general's findings on FBI surveillanceVideo

DURHAM OBJECTS TO IG FINDINGS ON RUSSIA PROBE ORIGINS IN STUNNING STATEMENT

“It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory,” he continued. “Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration.”

Trump spent the majority of the investigation blasting the FBI and accusing bureau leaders of conspiring to ruin his presidency. Former FBI bosses James Comey and Andrew McCabe did not act with political bias, the IG found.

U.S. Attorney John H. Durham, whom Barr appointed to run a separate investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, backed his attorney general.

“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,” Durham said in a statement.

DOJ releases Inspector General's report, no political biasVideo

The IG found no intentional misconduct or bias surrounding the probe's launch or efforts to seek a highly controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early months of the Russia investigation.

Barr disagreed, saying the FBI misled the FISA court in a “rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates.”

He continued, “FBI 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 report faulted the FBI over errors in the application process. The IG investigation found at least 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the Page applications and said a new audit into the FISA process would take place.

COMEY CLAIMS VINDICATION AFTER HOROWITZ FISA REPORT: 'SO IT WAS ALL LIES'

President Trump says findings from DOJ inspector general's report are far worse than imaginedVideo

Horowitz and investigators were critical of the FBI's handling of the case, including for failing to share information that could have contradicted allegations in the FISA applications.

“[T]he Crossfire Hurricane team failed to inform department officials of significant information that was available to the team at the time that the FISA applications were drafted and filed,” the report said.

Barr said the FISA report showed a clear abuse of the surveillance process.

“While most of the misconduct identified by the inspector general was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the inspector general’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process,” the attorney general added.

Andy McCarthy analyzes IG Report findingsVideo

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“FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source,” he added. “The inspector general found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory.”

The release of the IG report came as Democrats have been leading an impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

Fox News' Alex Pappas, Ronn Blitzer and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Original Article

Comey claims vindication after Horowitz FISA report: ‘So it was all lies’

closePresident Trump says findings from DOJ inspector general's report are far worse than imaginedVideo

President Trump says findings from DOJ inspector general's report are far worse than imagined

Trump speaks after Department of Justice watchdog releases report on Russia investigation.

Former FBI director James Comey seized on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) report findings Monday to claim vindication over the bureau’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe in 2016, saying criticism of the probe “was all lies” — even though the inspector general also faulted the FBI’s handling of surveillance warrants in the report.

DOJ inspector general Michael E. Horowitz’s report, released Monday, said investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding efforts to launch that 2016 probe.

“So it was all lies,” Comey tweeted, in an apparent reference to President Trump’s claims that the FBI wrongly investigated his ties to Russia. “No treason. No spying on the campaign. No tapping Trumps wires. It was just good people trying to protect America.”

DURHAM OBJECTS TO IG FINDINGS ON RUSSIA PROBE ORIGINS IN STUNNING STATEMENT

Comey, in his tweet and in a Washington Post op-ed, appeared to downplay the “significant concerns” cited in the report over the bureau’s efforts to seek the highly controversial FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early months of the investigation. The IG probe identified at least 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the Page applications and said a new audit into the FISA process would take place.

“Although it took two years, the truth is finally out,” Comey wrote in his op-ed.

Others investigating the origins of the probe were less charitable.

“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.

Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr ripped the FBI’s “intrusive” investigation after the release of Horowitz’s review, saying it was launched based on the “thinnest of suspicions.”

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“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 release came as Washington has been consumed with an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee was holding the inquiry’s latest hearing Monday, days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats were moving forward with plans to bring articles of impeachment against the president over his dealings with Ukraine. The president repeatedly has denied doing anything wrong.

Original Article

‘It’s a disgrace’: Trump comments on DOJ watchdog Horowitz report

closePresident Trump says findings from DOJ inspector general's report are far worse than imaginedVideo

President Trump says findings from DOJ inspector general's report are far worse than imagined

Trump speaks after Department of Justice watchdog releases report on Russia investigation.

Although the long-awaited internal watchdog findings from the Justice Department’s inspector general on Monday undercut his claim that he was the target of a “witch hunt,” President Trump fired back that the report concerning the origins of the Russia investigation showed “an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it.”

"It's a disgrace what's happened with the things that were done to our country … it's incredible, far worse than what I ever thought possible," he said.

He noted it shouldn’t happen to another president, and he called it an embarrassment.

“Never, ever again should this happen in our country.”

Trump asked former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to comment on the IG report, and she said the country should be outraged.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump, added: “People lied, and tried to subvert democracy.”

READ: DOJ INSPECTOR GENERAL'S FISA REPORT

The report said that although the Russia probe's launch complied with DOJ and FBI policies, there were "significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised."

Specifically, the report concluded that investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding the probe's launch and efforts to seek a highly controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early months of the Russia investigation — but faulted the FBI over numerous errors in the application process.

The IG probe identified at least 17 "significant inaccuracies and omissions" in the Page applications, and said they would launch a new audit into the FISA process.

Attorney General William Barr releases scathing statement on inspector general's FISA reportVideo

IG Michael Horowitz and his investigators probed how the unverified anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was used to secure the original FISA warrant for Page in October 2016 as well as other decisions at the outset of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Russian election interference and the Trump campaign, known within the FBI by the name "Crossfire Hurricane."

The report confirmed that information obtained from Steele was instrumental in the FBI's ability to acquire a FISA warrant on Page, saying the FBI omitted information that allowed them to obtain renewals.

The report revealed that when the FBI team handling the Russia probe first considered getting a FISA warrant for Page in August 2016, FBI attorneys thought it was a "close call" as to whether they had sufficient cause. The following month, right after the FBI received information from Steele, FBI attorneys gave the investigative team the go-ahead.

Horowitz conducted more than 170 interviews involving more than 100 witnesses, including former FBI director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the Russia investigation, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, along with FBI agents and analysts.

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“It’s a sad day when a lot of people see that,” Trump added about the IG report. “They know nothing — it was concocted.”

Trump reiterated 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.

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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 Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

DOJ watchdog Horowitz’s report to be released, as Dems prep impeachment hearing

closeHorowitz report will reportedly criticize FBI leaders for handling of Russia probeVideo

Horowitz report will reportedly criticize FBI leaders for handling of Russia probe

The IG report on the origins of the Russia probe will reportedly hit FBI leadership for their handling of the investigation, according to The New York Times.

The Justice Department's internal watchdog is set to release a highly anticipated report Monday that is expected to document misconduct — including the deliberate falsification of at least one key document — during the investigation into President Trump's 2016 campaign.

At the same time, the report, as described by people familiar with its findings, is expected to conclude there was an adequate basis for opening one of the most politically sensitive investigations in FBI history. It began in secret during Trump’s 2016 presidential run before then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller ultimately took it over.

The report comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry in Congress centered on his efforts to press Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden — a probe the president also claimed has been politically biased. The House Judiciary Committee is expected hold a hearing Monday on the inquiry's findings.

The release of Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz's review is unlikely to quell the partisan battles that have surrounded the Russia investigation for years. It's also not the last word: A separate internal investigation continues, overseen by Attorney General Bill Barr and led by U.S. Attorney John Durham. That investigation is criminal in nature, and Republicans may look to it to uncover wrongdoing that the inspector general wasn’t examining.

Sources told Fox News in October that Durham's probe into potential FBI and Justice Department misconduct in the run-up to the 2016 election through the spring of 2017 has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation — and Horowitz's report will shed light on why Durham has been leading a criminal inquiry.

IG Horowitz to release the highly anticipated report on alleged FISA abuseVideo

Horowitz has forwarded to Durham evidence that an FBI lawyer manipulated a key investigative document related to the FBI's secretive surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page in 2016 and 2017 — enough to change the substantive meaning of the document, according to multiple reports last month.

"I think we'll learn part of the story tomorrow," Page told the Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo on "Sunday Morning Futures." "What I've learned from some of the leakers and one of the papers of record: a top reporter there said there's a lot of exculpatory evidence that's remaining classified, and there's been internal battles."

It is unclear how Barr, a strong defender of Trump, will respond to Horowitz's findings. He has told Congress that he believed "spying" on the Trump campaign did occur and has raised public questions about whether the counterintelligence investigation was done correctly.

The inspector general's investigation began in early 2018, and has focused in part on the FBI's surveillance of Page. The FBI applied in the fall of 2016 for a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page's communications, flatly telling the court that Page was an "agent" of a foreign power.

DOJ OUTLINES STRZOK 'SECURITY VIOLATIONS'; FINDS 'PARANOID' CASE AGENT NOTICED STRZOK WAS SITTING ON WEINER LAPTOP

Page was never charged and has denied any wrongdoing. The ultimately successful warrant application on Page relied in part on information from British ex-spy Christopher Steele – whose anti-Trump views have been well-documented – and cited Page's suspected Russia ties.

In its warrant application, the FBI inaccurately assured the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court on numerous occasions that media sources independently corroborated Steele's claims, and did not clearly state that Steele worked for a firm hired by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Much of the Steele dossier has been proven discredited or unsubstantiated, including the dossier's claims that the Trump campaign was paying hackers in the United States out of a nonexistent Russian consulate in Miami, and that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to conspire with Russians. Mueller also was unable to substantiate the dossier's claims that Page had received a large payment relating to the sale of a share of Rosneft, a Russian oil giant, or that a lurid blackmail tape involving the president existed.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hear testimony from Horowitz on Wednesday, said he expected the report would be "damning" about the process of obtaining the warrant.

"I'm looking for evidence of whether or not they manipulated the facts to get the warrant," Graham, R-S.C., told "Sunday Morning Futures."

Fox News' Brooke Singman, Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article