Dec 3, 2019

WashPost: Barr opposes key Russia probe finding by inspector general

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

Justice Department inspector general to testify on FISA investigation

Michael Horowitz. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 11 about his investigation into alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the Russia probe, Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Monday.

Why it matters: Horowitz's highly anticipated report is expected to explore, among other things, 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.

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

Keep ReadingArrowNov 18, 2019

Justice Department inspector general concludes Russia probe was justified

Michael Horowitz. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In his long-awaited report into the origins of the 2016 Russia probe, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found "serious performance failures" by some FBI officials, but ultimately concluded that the investigation was not tainted by political bias.

Why it matters: President Trump and his allies have long believed that Horowitz would find bias and wrongdoing at the top ranks of the FBI, advancing allegations that the Russia investigation was a politically motivated hit job. While Horowitz does rebuke some low-level officials for carelessness and impropriety while filing surveillance applications, his report ultimately concludes that the basis for the FBI's investigation was legitimate.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 9, 2019

Read DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz's opening statement at FISA hearing

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz summarized his 400+ page report on the origins of the 2016 Russia investigations in an opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

The big picture: Horowitz's investigation found serious irregularities and inaccuracies in the FBI's applications for court-approved surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Ultimately, however, Horowitz did not find evidence that the Russia investigation was politically motivated and determined that it was adequately predicated — a conclusion that Attorney General Bill Barr disputes.

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019