Inspector Report on Trump-Russia Investiation Finds No Political Bias

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Sorry, Donald Trump. Sorry, Rudy Giuliani. Sorry, Devin Nunes. Sorry, Jim Jordan, Sorry, Sean Hannity. Sorry, Fox News watchers. There was no Deep State conspiracy to cook up a Russia investigation to sabotage Trump’s campaign and, then, his presidency. There was no witch hunt. There was no hoax. The Obama administration did not, as Trump claimed, have his “wires tapped” in Trump Tower and did not “tapp” [sic] Trump’s phones during “the very sacred election process.”

There was no Spygate. 

It turns out that this Spygate—the name Trump-Russia truthers gave to their allegations that Trump was the victim of a clandestine and elaborate plot waged by US government officials in the FBI, CIA, and elsewhere—was the hoax. The scandal was—and remains—Russia’s attack on the United States that was mounted in part to help Trump win the White House and Trump’s complicity in that assault by (at different times) inviting, denying, welcoming, requesting encouraging, and accepting Moscow’s operation.

AP, just now:

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog will release a highly anticipated report Monday that is expected to reject President Donald Trump’s claims that the Russia investigation was illegitimate and tainted by political bias from FBI leaders. But it is also expected to document errors during the investigation that may animate Trump supporters.

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 and one that Trump has denounced as a witch hunt. It began in secret during Trump’s 2016 presidential run and was ultimately taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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 claims is politically biased.

Still, the release of Inspector General Michael 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 Trump’s attorney general, William Barr and led by a 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.

Trump tweeted Sunday: “I.G. report out tomorrow. That will be the big story!”

He previously has said that he was awaiting Horowitz’s report but that Durham’s report may be even more important.

Horowitz’s report is expected to identify errors and misjudgments by some law enforcement officials, including by an FBI lawyer suspected of altering a document related to the surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide. Those findings probably will fuel arguments by Trump and his supporters that the investigation was flawed from the start.

But the report will not endorse some of the president’s theories on the investigation, including that it was a baseless “witch hunt” or that he was targeted by an Obama administration Justice Department desperate to see Republican Trump lose to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

It also is not expected to undo Mueller’s findings or call into question his conclusion that Russia interfered in that election in order to benefit the Trump campaign and that Russians had repeated contacts with Trump associates.

Barr is lying about the IG report already:

“In my view…”. This is the same guy who had the “view” that the Mueller report was a complete exoneration of Trump (it wasn’t) and that the whistleblower complaint should be buried.

Here’s something interesting…

UPDATE: Durham not on board with the Horowitz report:

Trump’s spin is Trumpian:

This is the big picture: Trump and the other conspiracy nutters—which includes Attorney General Bill Barr, who has been looking for evidence to back up the Papadopoulos-was-set-up claim—are flat-out wrong. They have obsessively promoted unfounded allegations about the origin of the Russia investigation and the role of the Steele memos in the inquiry, and they have excessively fixated on technical points regarding a surveillance warrant used by the FBI during the probe to mount a false flag operation. And this underhanded maneuver worked, to a degree, with these garbage talking points shaping the national conversation and media coverage of the Russia scandal. The IG report shows that Trump and his crew perverted and polluted the nation’s consideration of what happened in 2016—and that they have served, wittingly or not, as useful idiots for Russia.

The report does slap the FBI for “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in applications it filed to obtain warrants to secretly monitor Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who had traveled to Moscow and interacted with Russian officials during the campaign. The report says that FBI agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.” Nevertheless, the document notes that it is uncertain whether a more accurate application would “have resulted in a different outcome.” The Spygate crowd has been screaming for years about this one warrant—which came months after the investigation was opened and only involved one slice of the inquiry. But this warrant had nothing to do with the start of the investigation and stands alone in this case as an instance of bureaucratic wrongdoing.

The IG report should kill and bury all the conspiracy hogwash that Trump and his acolytes have used to poison the political environment and prevent a real and thorough discussion of what occurred in 2016: the Russian attack and Trump’s collaboration with it. But it won’t. As soon as the report was released, Barr started a disinformation campaign with a disingenuous statement: “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.” That’s the opposite of the report’s findings. And Jordan similarly chimed in: “The Inspector Generals report confirms what many of us feared: James Comey’s FBI ignored guidelines and rules in spying on President Trump’s campaign in 2016. We now know that within one week of the investigation opening, the FBI was surveilling the campaign and four specific individuals associated with it.” Yet the report states these investigations were appropriately triggered. 

So the BS won’t stop. Trump, Barr, Jordan and the rest are too invested in it. Now they and their minions will turn to John Durham, the federal prosecutor whom Barr assigned to conduct a separate review of the FBI’s Russia investigation, to carry on their crusade. And Durham, in this hour of need, provided them great comfort. In an unusual move, Durham issued a statement noting that he did not “agree with some of the [IG] report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.” This means Trump and his crew will be able to continue their scorched-earth campaign against the truth they cannot handle: Russia attacked the United States and Trump helped. That full equation can never, ever, ever be acknowledged by Trump and his henchmen. They are fighting this battle as if the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency depends upon it. And in that they are correct.