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Attorney General William Barr speaks as President Trump looks on during a July statement at the White House. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr opposes a finding in the Department of Justice inspector general's Russia probe report that the FBI had enough information in 2016 to begin investigating Trump campaign members, the Washington Post reported Monday.

Why it matters: DOJ 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) during the Russia investigation.

  • Per Axios' Zachary Basu, the report by Horowitz, whose work is independent of DOJ leadership, is expected to explore issues such as "whether the FBI's court-ordered surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page was properly handled."
  • "Trump allies hope that Horowitz's report, as well as a separate investigation into intelligence collecting led by prosecutor John Durham, will undermine the findings of the Russia investigation," Basu notes.

What they're saying: Barr disagrees with the key finding by Horowitz that the FBI "had sufficient basis to open an investigation on July 31, 2016," people familiar with the matter told WashPost.

  • The attorney general "argues that other U.S. agencies, such as the CIA, may hold significant information that could alter Horowitz’s conclusion on that point," WashPost reports, citing its sources.
  • DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec tweeted a statement praising Horowitz after WashPost published the report.

Go deeper: Investigation into Trump-Russia probe said to become criminal inquiry

Go deeper

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.