Mo. State Rep. calls for FBI investigation into probe of fmr Gov. Eric Greitens

FILE – In this May 29, 2018, file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announces his resignation during a news conference in Jefferson City. (Julie Smith/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:11 AM PT — Saturday, February 22, 2020

Republican lawmakers in Missouri have moved to “investigate the investigators” in the wake of the former Gov. Eric Greitens probe.

State Rep. Justin Hill (R-Mo.) introduced a measure in the House Tuesday, which would launch an investigation into the efforts that were taken to look into Greitens.

Specifically, he was accused of illegally using a charity donor list to raise funds for his 2016 campaign.

However, the nearly two-year-long probe ultimately found no wrongdoing, even after he resigned from office amid other allegations. Although, officials did find two violations of his campaign for “…failure to report in-kind contributions from LG Pac and a New Missouri.”

Now, a handful of GOP lawmakers in the state are introducing a bill to look into the origins of that investigation.

RELATED: Soros Witch Hunt Crushed, Former GOP Gov. Greitens Exonerated

Original Article

Iowa Democrat Party Chair calls for probe into caucus

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price speaks about the delay in Iowa caucus results Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:33 PM PT — Saturday, February 8, 2020

The chair of the Iowa Democrat Party is calling for an independent investigation into what went wrong with the caucus this week. On Friday, Troy Price said while 100 percent of reporting has been achieved, delays and inconsistencies have hindered the final result.

Price added the review will take as long as needed.

“We will be undergoing an independent forensic review of the challenges that we saw on Monday night,” he said. “What went right, what went wrong, from start to finish, and what we can do better in the future.”

The Iowa Democrat Party will also give 2020 campaigns the chance to submit evidence of inconsistencies and file a request for a recanvass. Candidates will have until noon on Monday to submit discrepancy claims from the caucus results.

“This morning, we informed campaigns of two new steps over the coming days to ensure that the numbers we reported match the records from caucus night,” stated Price. “First, we are providing presidential campaigns the opportunity to submit evidence of data entry inaccuracies, and we will work to make necessary corrections.”

The chairman went on to say “the IDP will compare the reported numbers with the results from caucus night to ensure the integrity of their reporting.”

This combination of Jan. 26, 2020, photos shows at left, Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Jan. 26, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa; and at right Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in Sioux City, Iowa. (AP Photo)

According to reports, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg won 13 pledged delegates and Sen. Bernie Sanders took 12 from the flawed Iowa caucus. Additionally, Sen. Elizabeth Warren walked away with eight delegates, former Vice President Joe Biden got six and Sen. Amy Klobuchar received one. The Iowa Democratic Party has yet to finalize those numbers.

The Associated Press calculated how the 40 delegates would be distributed, revealing an extra delegate yet to be claimed. Many believe it could be withheld due to the chaos surrounding the precincts’ reporting.

However, this may give Buttigieg and Sanders an opportunity to tie for the top spot. This would make quite the déjà vu for Sanders, who virtually tied with Hillary Clinton in Iowa in 2016.

The Iowa Democratic Party will hold a press conference to provide updates next Monday.

RELATED: Report: Iowa Caucus Results Are Still Flawed

Original Article

Cruz mocks FBI on Russia probe: ‘This wasn’t Jason Bourne. This was Beavis and Butt-Head’

closeSen. Ted Cruz on surveillance of Trump campaign: This wasn't Jason Bourne, this was ' Beavis and Butt-head'Video

Sen. Ted Cruz on surveillance of Trump campaign: This wasn't Jason Bourne, this was ' Beavis and Butt-head'

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questions Department of Justice watchdog Michael Horowitz on his report on alleged FISA abuse.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, let it be known Wednesday that he isn't impressed with the FBI’s and the Department of Justice’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation — saying those involved were hardly the type of skillful agents found in an action thriller movie.

“What was going on here — this wasn’t Jason Bourne, this was Beavis and Butt-Head,” Cruz said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Cruz’s pop culture reference was only the highlight of a lengthy tirade where he bashed the conduct of some FBI agents and Justice Department (DOJ) employees during the Trump-Russia probe.

IG MICHAEL HOROWITZ TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: LIVE UPDATES

The hearing, which featured the testimony of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, came two days after a report identified significant problems with applications to receive and renew warrants to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide in 2016 and 2017.

Cruz called the report a "stunning indictment of the FBI and the Department of Justice, of a pattern of abusive power." He also said the facts in the report "should be deeply chilling" to anyone who understands them and that the errors made "are grotesque abuses of power."

<br>Video

While Horowitz said on Wednesday that he is concerned that “so many basic and fundamental errors" were made by the FBI, his report found that the FBI's actions were not motivated by partisan bias and that the investigation was opened for a proper cause.

“I think the activities we found don’t vindicate anybody who touched" the warrant applications, Horowitz said.

Democrats have seized on the inspector general's conclusion that the investigation was not tainted by political motivations. But Republicans say the findings show the investigation was fatally flawed. Attorney General William Barr, a vocal defender of President Trump, said the FBI investigation was based on a “bogus narrative" and he declined to rule out that agents may have acted in bad faith.

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Horowitz told senators that the FBI failed to follow its own standards for accuracy and completeness when it sought a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor the communications of ex-campaign aide Carter Page.

'Stunning' IG shows blatant FBI misconduct: Ted CruzVideo

The report detailed 17 errors and omissions during those wiretap applications, including failing to tell the court when questions were raised about the reliability of some of the information that it had presented to receive the warrants.

“We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams, on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations, after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI," Horowitz said.

Fox News' Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

IG calls for ‘accountability’ over FBI failures in Russia probe

closeHorowitz: 'Significant concerns' with how FBI handled Russia investigationVideo

Horowitz: 'Significant concerns' with how FBI handled Russia investigation

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz delivers an opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining his report on alleged FISA abuses.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded in his long-awaited report on the FBI's Russia investigation that there was no evidence of political bias in the probe's launch — but he made clear during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that this does not let anyone off the hook.

To the contrary, Horowitz said during Wednesday's hearing that while he did not make a determination as to motive, he is referring officials to the FBI and Department of Justice for further review.

IG MICHAEL HOROWITZ TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: LIVE UPDATES

"[O]ur final recommendation was to refer the entire chain of command that we outline here to the FBI and the Department for consideration of how to assess and address their performance failures," Horowitz said during his opening statement.

Horowitz also called for "individual accountability" for officials. He went into some specifics when committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked about an attorney who worked on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, a key component of the IG's review.

Graham identified the attorney as Kevin Clinesmith, and brought up anti-Trump text messages he had sent in the past, including "Viva la resistance."

The attorney was found to have altered an email to say that Page had not been a CIA source, when in fact he had been working with them. This ultimately led to the FBI renewing the FISA warrant against Page while leaving exculpatory evidence out of their application.

"What motivated him to do that?" Graham asked.

"It is unknown as to precisely why he did it," Horowitz said, "but we reference in here the text messages you mention and we have not made a determination but rather, as we note in here, when we learned this we notified the Attorney General and the FBI Director and referred it to them."

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Later in the hearing, when asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., about the lack of evidence of political bias in the Russia probe, Horowitz made clear that this finding pertained more to the initiation of the investigation, not everything that happened afterward.

"It gets murkier, the question gets more challenging, senator, when you get to the FISA," Horowitz said.

Original Article

Graham alleges ‘massive criminal conspiracy’ in FBI’s Russia probe in blistering hearing statement

closeGraham opens IG hearing with scathing take on FISA report: 'The system failed'Video

Graham opens IG hearing with scathing take on FISA report: 'The system failed'

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham delivers his opening statement to the FISA report hearing with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham accused the FBI officials who investigated the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia of a “massive criminal conspiracy” in a fiery opening statement Wednesday for a hearing where the Justice Department's top watchdog testified.

In a freewheeling speech to kick off the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on FBI abuses, the committee chairman said federal investigators made more than a few missteps — and took the law into their own hands.

IG MICHAEL HOROWITZ TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: LIVE UPDATES

“What has been described as a few irregularities becomes a massive criminal conspiracy over time to defraud the FISA court, to illegally surveil an American citizen and keep an operation open against a sitting president of the United States — violating every norm known to the rule of law,” Graham said.

The more than 40-minute unscripted speech came before the long-anticipated testimony of Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general who investigated the origins of the Russia probe into the Trump campaign.

Horowitz’s report, released Monday, found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding the FBI’s launch of the probe, which was called “Crossfire Hurricane,” and efforts to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to monitor Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

However, the report faulted the FBI for numerous errors in the FISA application process, identifying at least 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the application and renewals for Page’s FISA warrant.

IG HOROWITZ RIPS 'FAILURE' OF ENTIRE 'CHAIN OF COMMAND' IN FBI'S TRUMP-RUSSIA PRO

Graham said Horowitz's team discovered "an abuse of power I never believed could actually exist in 2019."

"How bad is it? It was as if J. Edgar Hoover came back to life," Graham said.

The Judiciary Committee chairman read aloud the text messages between FBI investigators Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the former lovers who expressed disgust with Trump in their exchanges, calling Trump a "loathsome human" and "awful."

Graham blasted the few investigators as “bad people.” He said former British spy Christopher Steele, who authored the salacious and unverified dossier against Trump, had an ax to grind against the president and those biases colored the investigation.

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In a passionate speech that was reminiscent of his angry defense of Brett Kavanaugh before his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Graham said he has serious concerns about whether the FISA Court can continue without reforms.

“Trump’s time will come and go," Graham said. "But I hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again. Because what happened here is not a few irregularities. What happened here is the system failed."

Graham also said the report should be a call to action for FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“Director Wray, you’ve got a problem,” Graham said.

He urged Page, the former Trump campaign adviser, to file suit.

"I hope Carter Page gets a lawyer and sues the hell out of the FBI and DOJ," Graham said.

Original Article

Barr blasts FBI’s Trump probe, accuses investigators of ‘gross abuse’

closeAG Barr: Beginning of Russia investigation was 'very flimsy'Video

AG Barr: Beginning of Russia investigation was 'very flimsy'

Attorney General Bill Barr discusses the beginning of the Russia investigation and the origins of the Steele dossier

Attorney General Bill Bar is blasting the FBI’s conduct during the Russia investigation, saying investigators relied on "flimsy" evidence in launching the probe and disputing key conclusions from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report released Monday.

Horowitz was critical of the FBI for their practices in using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to get a warrant to conduct surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, but he concluded that the investigation itself was launched properly, without evidence of political bias.

7 TAKEAWAYS FROM FISA REPORT

“It’s hard to look at this stuff and not think that it was a gross abuse,” Barr said during a discussion Tuesday at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council forum in Washington. He referred to the investigation as a whole as a "travesty."

"Where I disagree with Mike, I just think this was very flimsy," he said about the basis for the investigation. The FBI cited comments by Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos to an Australian official as sparking concerns about the campaign's possible involvement with Russia. Barr dismissed this as "a comment made by a 28-year-old volunteer on a campaign in a bar."

Barr also pointed to the FBI’s failure to include key evidence in their FISA warrant applications that would have gone in Page’s favor.

"They withheld from the court all the exculpatory information," he said, calling the anti-Trump dossier used to bolster the warrant applications a "sham."

CLICK TO READ THE IG REPORT

He also pointed out that the Russia investigation was supposed to be a counterintelligence probe, yet there was no effort to warn the Trump campaign about suspected Russian activities.

“The normal thing to do in this situation,” Barr said, “is to go to the campaign, and here I don’t think there’s a legitimate explanation for why they didn’t.”

Barr made it clear that he does not know for sure that there was political bias.

Former DOJ official: Horowitz report findings a 'big problem for America'Video

"I don't know what the motivations were," he said, stating it is premature to make a determination on that.

"That's why we have Durham," Barr said, referring to the ongoing investigation by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, which is broader in scope than Horowitz's review. "Durham is able to look at all the evidence," Barr said. He specifically referred to Durham's ability to talk to other government agencies and private parties, and to compel testimony.

Barr’s remarks echo what he said in a blistering NBC interview earlier Tuesday.

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Barr said that despite the report saying Horowitz did not have evidence that political bias played a factor in the investigation, he believes the IG left open “the possibility that there was bad faith” involved.

“All he said was, people gave me an explanation and I didn't find anything to contradict it,” he said. Barr also pointed a finger at the media, saying: "I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press."

And he said the Trump campaign was "clearly spied upon" during the investigation.

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

FISA report drops: 7 takeaways from DOJ watchdog’s Russia probe review

closeHorowitz report expected to find FBI justified in probing Trump campaign, but falsified documentVideo

Horowitz report expected to find FBI justified in probing Trump campaign, but falsified document

The Justice Department's internal watchdog is set to release a report expected to document misconduct during the investigation into President Trump's 2016 campaign. Gregg Jarrett and Francey Hakes react.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Monday released the highly anticipated findings from his nearly two-year review concerning the origins of the Russia investigation and the issuance of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants for a Trump campaign official.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the 476-page report:

No political bias in launch of probe, FISA applications

The report said investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding both the launch of the Trump-Russia investigation as well as efforts to seek the controversial FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early stages of that probe.

CLICK TO READ THE IG REPORT

“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to seek FISA authority on Carter Page,” the report said.

The report also said that key officials, including former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, did not act with political bias. The IG report generally found that agents were justified in launching the investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane, as well as investigations into four Trump associates: Page, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort.

"[W]e found that each investigation was opened for an authorized purpose and, in light of the low threshold established by Department and FBI predication policy, with adequate factual predication," the report said.

'Significant' errors, omissions

Despite the inspector general’s finding that there was no evidence of political bias or improper motivation, Horowitz’s report revealed there were at least 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the Page FISA applications.

Carter Page on the upcoming release of the FISA reportVideo

The report said that the FISA applications for Page omitted information that the FBI had obtained from another U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page, "including that Page had been approved as an 'operational contact' for the other agency from 2008 to 2013."

Another error in the applications was the inclusion of a “source characterization statement asserting that [Christopher] Steele’s prior reporting had been ‘corroborated and used in criminal proceedings,’ which overstated the significance of Steele’s past reporting and was not approved by Steele’s handling agent.” Christopher Steele is the former British spy whose unverified Trump "dossier" was used to help justify the warrants.

The FISA applications also omitted information regarding the reliability of a key Steele “sub-source,” the report said.

Notably, the FISA application also omitted Page’s “consensually monitored statements to an FBI” confidential human source saying that he “literally never met” former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as well as former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos’ consensually monitored statement to the FBI “denying that anyone associated with the Trump campaign was collaborating with Russia or with outside groups like WikiLeaks in the release of emails.”

Steele dossier key in FISA files, despite concerns

Christopher Steele’s now-infamous dossier and research surrounding the 2016 election provided much of the information used in the FISA application and renewals. But the inspector general found that the FBI did not have any specific information corroborating allegations against Page from Steele’s reporting.

“We determined that prior to and during the pendency of the FISAs the FBI was unable to corroborate any of the specific substantive allegations against Carter Page contained in the election reporting and relied on in the FISA applications, and was only able to confirm the accuracy of a limited number of circumstantial facts, most of which were in the public domain,” the report said, noting that the information confirmed was only timing of events and dates that Page traveled to Russia.

Dan Bongino expects IG report to raise 'significant questions' about Steele vettingVideo

In addition to the lack of corroboration, the inspector general found that the FBI’s interviews of Steele and his sub-sources “revealed potentially serious problems with Steele’s description of information in his election reports.” The report stated that the FBI “failed to notify” the Office of Investigations (OI), which was working on the Page FISA applications “of the potentially serious problems identified with Steele’s election reporting that arose as early as January 2017.”

Horowitz added that “even as the FBI developed this information, we found no evidence that the Crossfire Hurricane team reconsidered its reliance on the Steele reporting in the FISA renewal applications.”

In addition to the issues surrounding the accuracy of Steele’s information, Horowitz also pointed out that the Crossfire Hurricane team “did not investigate who ultimately paid for Steele’s reporting.”

DOJ WATCHDOG FINDS NO BIAS IN LAUNCH OF TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE, BUT UNCOVERS 'SIGNIFICANT' FBI ERRORS

One intelligence analyst told the inspector general’s office that they focused “instead on vetting the accuracy of the information” in the report, “because if the reporting turned out to be true, it would not matter to the team who ultimately paid for the research.”

Steele’s reporting was commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) through law firm Perkins Coie.

According to the report, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that if the FBI had information about the Clinton campaign and the DNC funding Steele’s reporting, he “would have expected the FBI to revise the language to be more explicit.”

Meanwhile, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, despite the inaccuracies and uncorroborated nature of Steele’s report, wanted to include that information in an official Intelligence Community Assessment to be delivered to then-President Barack Obama. McCabe told the inspector general’s office that he believed the Steele reporting needed to be included in that ICA because “President Obama had requested ‘everything you have relevant to this topic of Russian influence.’”

But CIA officials pushed back, arguing that Steele’s reporting was simply “internet rumor,” and should be included only as an appendix in the final report.

McCabe argued that including it as an appendix was simply “tacking it on” in a way that “would minimize” the information and prevent it from being properly considered—despite the fact that former FBI Director James Comey felt that Steele’s reporting was “not ripe enough, mature enough, to be a finished intelligence product.”

Ultimately, “the FBI’s view did not prevail,” and the final ICA report only included Steele’s reporting as a short summary in an appendix.

Key figures left in the dark

The inspector general’s report revealed that, at times, the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was not properly sharing information with the Justice Department or other key figures who should have been privy to updated information.

The report stated that the inspector general’s office found the 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 submitted.

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

“Much of that information was inconsistent with, or undercut, the assertions contained in the FISA applications that were used to support probably cause, and in some instances, resulted in inaccurate information being included in the applications,” the report said, adding that the inspector general believed it was “the obligation” of those agents aware of the information to share it so that “decision makers had the opportunity to consider it, both for their own assessment of probable cause and for consideration of whether to include the information in the applications so that the FISC received a complete and accurate recitation of the relevant facts.”

But because those FBI officials on Crossfire Hurricane failed to do so, officials at the Justice Department who reviewed one or more of the Page applications and renewals — including former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, ex-Acting Attorney General Dana Boente, and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — “did not have accurate and complete information at the time they approved the applications.”

“While we do not speculate whether Department officials would have authorized the FBI to seek to use FISA authority had they been made aware of all relevant information, it was clearly the responsibility of Crossfire Hurricane team members to advise them of such critical information so that they could make a fully informed decision,” the report stated.

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

Meanwhile, Horowitz found that the Trump campaign was not given a defensive briefing—a briefing that takes place when U.S. government or corporate officials are being targeted by a foreign adversary and the FBI determines the officials should be alerted to the potential threat.

FBI officials decided not to give the campaign that briefing, saying it would create the risk that “if someone on the campaign was engaged with the Russians, he/she would very likely change his/her tactics and/or otherwise seek to cover-up his/her activities, thereby preventing us from finding the truth.”

Horowitz determined that the decision to do so is “left to the discretion of FBI officials.”

The report also cited concerns that the FBI did not have to loop in senior DOJ officials before sending confidential human sources to interact with members of Trump’s campaign.

“We found it concerning that Department and FBI policy did not require the FBI to consult with any Department official in advance of conducting [Confidential Human Source] operations involving advisors to a major party candidate’s presidential campaign, and we found no evidence that the FBI consulted with any Department officials before conducting these CHS operations,” the report states, noting that in the future, they recommend that
"Department consultation is required when tasking a CHS to interact with officials in national political campaigns."

Use of confidential human sources

The inspector general revealed that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team indeed used “Confidential Human Sources” to contact and record conversations with Page, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and another "high-level" campaign official who was not a subject of the probe.

“All of these interactions were consensually monitored and recorded by the FBI,” the report stated, noting that the recorded interactions took place before and after Page and Papadopoulos were advisers on the campaign.

Horowitz determined that the use of confidential human sources "complied" with their requirement that "investigative activities be conducted for an authorized purpose."

But the report revealed that the Crossfire Hurricane team omitted several key statements made by Page and Papadopoulos during those recorded interactions. The report revealed that Page made statements to the confidential human source that “would have, if true, contradicted the notion that Page was conspiring with Russia” and “that contradicted the Steele reporting received by the team.”

In those meetings, Page said he had “literally never met” or “said one word to” Manafort, and Papadopoulos denied that anyone associated with the Trump campaign was collaborating with Russia or outside groups like WikiLeaks in the release of hacked DNC emails. Both of those statements were omitted in FISA applications and from reports to other officials.

The report stated that they “found no evidence the FBI made Page’s statements from this confidential human source meeting” available to higher-ups in the Office of Investigations or in the National Security Division “until mid-June 2017.”

Meanwhile, the inspector general’s office also investigated Papadopoulos’ allegation that the FBI used Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud to pass information to Papadopoulos as a set up to launch the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

TRUMP REACTS TO DOJ WATCHDOG HOROWITZ'S REPORT, SAYS WHAT WAS DONE WAS A 'DISGRACE'

Horowitz said they did not find any records or evidence indicating that Mifsud was an FBI confidential human source or that his conversations with Papadopoulos were part of any FBI operation, and none of the witnesses interviewed had any information to support the allegation.

Prior to the 2016 presidential election, Papadopoulos met with Mifsud in London, who told him that the Russians had dirt in the form of emails that could damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Papadopoulos then told Australian diplomat Alexander Downer of the new information. Downer reported Papadopoulos’ comments to the FBI.

Papadopoulos has long said he felt he was being spied on, telling Fox News that he met with longtime FBI informant Stefan Halper and his female associate, who went under the alias Azra Turk. Papadopoulos told Fox News that he saw Turk three times in London: once over drinks, once over dinner and once with Halper. He also told Fox News back in May that he always suspected he was being recorded.

Neither Halper nor Turk’s names were mentioned in Horowitz’s report.

The report also revealed that the Crossfire Hurricane team was “interested in seeking FISA surveillance targeting” Papadopoulos, but that FBI attorneys were not supportive.

Priestap started probe, didn’t want Strzok on board

It has been long-reported that ex-counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok was the FBI official to formally open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation in July 2016, but the inspector general report revealed that it was actually his superviser, Bill Priestap, who ultimately made the decision.

Strzok sues FBI for firing him over anti-Trump textsVideo

Priestap’s decision to open the probe was based on a consensus reached by after multiple days of meetings that included Strzok, McCabe, FBI general counsel and FBI deputy general counsel, the report said.

The report also revealed that Priestap “originally wanted to assign the investigation to a Deputy Assistant Director other than Strzok, because, although he had confidence in Strzok’s counterintelligence capabilities, he had concerns about Strzok’s personal relationship with Lisa Page affecting the Crossfire Hurricane team.”

Strzok and Page were romantically involved.

Durham objects

U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham, who is conducting a wide-ranging investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, released a rare statement after Horowitz’s report was made available to the public on Monday, saying he disagrees with inspector general’s conclusions.

“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 Monday.

Trump touts importance of Durham Russia investigationVideo

“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff,” Durham said. “However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

Fox News reported in October that Durham's ongoing probe has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation, meaning he has the ability to charge individuals.

Original Article

US Attorney Durham objects to IG findings on Russia probe origins in stunning statement

closeDOJ releases inspector general's findings on FBI surveillanceVideo

DOJ releases inspector general's findings on FBI surveillance

The 476-page report finds no evidence of political bias or intentional misconduct, but finds 17 'significant errors or omissions' in FISA applications; David Spunt reports from the Justice Department.

The U.S. attorney who is conducting a wide-ranging investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe released a rare statement Monday saying he disagrees with conclusions of the so-called FISA report — after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz found in that review that the probe's launch largely complied with DOJ and FBI policies.

“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.

FISA REPORT: DOJ WATCHDOG RELEASES FINDINGS ON RUSSIA PROBE SURVEILLANCE

Horowitz released his report Monday saying his investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding efforts to launch that 2016 probe and 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 investigation. Still, it found that there were "significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised."

“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff,” Durham said. “However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

As Horowitz has conducted his review of DOJ actions during the Russia probe, Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, has also been conducting a wider inquiry into alleged misconduct and alleged improper government surveillance on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Fox News reported in October that Durham's ongoing probe has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation.

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.”

“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.

Barr expressed frustration that the FBI continued investigating the Trump campaign, even as “exculpatory” came to the light.

DOJ releases Inspector General's report, no political biasVideo

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

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller acknowledged in his report that investigators did not find evidence of a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and the Russians in 2016 – which the FBI probed extensively.

Barr said the FISA report shows a “clear abuse” of the surveillance process.

“In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, 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,” Barr said.

He added, “The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. 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.”

Monday’s FISA report dealing with the investigation into Trump’s campaign has long been expected. Horowitz in September submitted a draft of the report to Barr and the FBI so they could identify any classified information. But it had not been publicly released until now.

The release comes as Washington has been consumed with impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee is holding the inquiry’s latest hearing Monday, days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are moving forward with plans to bring articles of impeachment against the president over his dealings with Ukraine.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

Original Article

FISA report: DOJ watchdog releases findings on Russia probe surveillance

closeHorowitz report expected to find FBI justified in probing Trump campaign, but falsified documentVideo

Horowitz report expected to find FBI justified in probing Trump campaign, but falsified document

The Justice Department's internal watchdog is set to release a report expected to document misconduct during the investigation into President Trump's 2016 campaign. Gregg Jarrett and Francey Hakes react.

The Justice Department’s inspector general on Monday released the long-awaited internal review concerning the origins of the Russia investigation, revealing that while the probe's launch complied with DOJ and FBI policies, there are "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 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 "omissions" and "inaccuracies" in the application process.

CARTER PAGE ACCUSES DOJ OF ‘ORWELLIAN OVERREACH’ OVER EFFORT TO PREVENT HIM PREVIEWING FISA REPORT

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

At the same time, the report said key officials including former FBI bosses James Comey and Andrew McCabe did not act with political bias and extended a similar finding to the overall surveillance efforts targeting Page.

“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to seek FISA authority on Carter Page,” the report said.

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

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.

The release comes as Washington has been consumed with the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee was holding the inquiry’s latest hearing Monday, days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are moving forward with plans to bring articles of impeachment against the president over his dealings with Ukraine.

But the sprawling, nearly 500-page FISA report is sure to become a political football of its own, alongside the impeachment probe.

Republicans, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., have contested the FISA warrant and its subsequent renewal applications, claiming that the FBI misrepresented key evidence and omitted exculpatory information.

Nunes blasted the FBI for not revealing that evidence used to support the warrant application came from an unverified dossier compiled by Steele as opposition research for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Democrats have pointed to a footnote in the warrant application that gave a general characterization of the nature of the information and how the FBI believed that it was part of an effort to get information to discredit Trump’s campaign, though it did not specifically mention Clinton or the Democratic National Committee.

Horowitz’s team has questioned why the FBI considered Steele a credible source, and why the bureau seemed to use news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility.

The inspector general has said his team has “reviewed over one million records and conducted over 100 interviews, including several witnesses who only recently agreed to be interviewed.” Page, who has been vocal about his belief that he was unjustly targeted, has expressed frustration over not being interviewed for Horowitz’s investigation. Page was never charged with a crime as a result of the surveillance.

Trump and his Republican allies have long questioned the Justice Department’s efforts to secure the surveillance warrants. Earlier this year, Attorney General Bill Barr said "spying" did occur against the Trump campaign during the campaign. But critics pushed back: James Comey, who was FBI director at the time, dismissed Barr’s claims, saying he “never thought of” electronic surveillance as “spying.”

Next, Horowitz is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning to answer questions about his probe.

The Horowitz findings come amid another, broader inquiry related to the 2016 election: Barr has assigned John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to conduct an inquiry into alleged misconduct and alleged improper government surveillance on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. That investigation is criminal in nature, and Republicans may look to it to uncover wrongdoing that the inspector general wasn’t examining.

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Ahead of the release, some of the people who worked at the FBI at the time attempted to get ahead of the report to defend their actions. Lisa Page, the ex-FBI lawyer who carried on an extramarital affair with former FBI head of counterintelligence Peter Strzok as the two exchanged anti-Trump text messages during the investigation, recently granted an interview for a sympathetic piece at The Daily Beast, saying “there’s no fathomable way that I have committed any crime at all.”

Meanwhile, a key FBI player during the time frame, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, has been facing the prospect of federal charges after Horowitz faulted him in a separate inquiry over statements he made during a Hillary Clinton-related investigation. The review found that McCabe "lacked candor" when talking with investigators, but the former FBI official has denied wrongdoing. McCabe has not been indicted.

Fox News' Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Original Article