Barr slams Federal Bureau of Investigation as he and Durham contradict watchdog

Elias Hubbard
December 10, 2019

"The Inspector General's report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a USA presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken", said Barr.

Comey also rips Attorney General Bill Barr for "deriding the Justice Department when the facts don't agree with Trump's fiction".

Attorney General William Barr chose to release information about former Federal Bureau of Investigation informant Christopher Steele that had been redacted in Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz's report that's being made public on Monday investigating the Russian probe, The New York Times reported.

While the report found that the FBI was justified in opening the investigation, it faulted agents and the FISA Court process, calling the process to obtain a warrant to investigate Trump ally Carter Page misleading.

But he also found a total of 17 "basic and fundamental" errors and omissions in its applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) that made the case appear stronger than it was.

But the inspector general Michael Horowitz's report did pinpoint "serious performance failures" in the monitoring of a Trump aide, which the president's allies seized on in an attempt to claim vindication.

Wray said the FBI would make changes to how it handles confidential informants, how it applies for warrants from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, how it conducts briefings on foreign influence for presidential nominees and how it structures sensitive investigations like the 2016 Russian Federation probe.

"The Report concludes that the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation and related investigations of certain individuals were opened in 2016 for an authorized goal and with adequate factual predication", Wray stated.

In an interview with The Associated Press, FBI Director Chris Wray said the inspector general found problems that are "unacceptable and unrepresentative of who we are as an institution". Wray is expected to announce a comprehensive set of reforms on December 9, according to Barr. Nevertheless, the Justice Department has a standard requiring the least intrusive means of investigating such entities as presidential campaigns, particularly when it is the campaign of the opposing party. The suspicions were "insufficient" to justify the steps the bureau went on to take, Barr said.

Steele is the former British intelligence professional who founded a commercial investigative firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, and was hired by Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research into members of the Trump campaign.

The warrant was renewed several times, including during the Trump administration.

The FBI, however, did not independently verify the allegations in the Steele dossier. "Steele instead relied on a Primary Sub-source for information, who used his/her network of sub-sources to gather information that was then passed to Steele", the IG report states.

"Of course, given the way these people act", Comey responded.

The investigation was taken over in May 2017 by Mueller, who charged six Trump associates with various crimes as well as 25 Russians accused of interfering in the election either through hacking or a social media disinformation campaign.

The inspector general report comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry in Congress centered on his efforts to have Ukraine investigate a political rival, Joe Biden.

Strzok led the investigation of the Trump campaign and the probe of Hillary Clinton's use of an unauthorized private email server for government work.

Horowitz formally announced the investigation into the Carter Page FISA in March 2018.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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