President Donald Trump took to Twitter to call out Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ investigation into the alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse.
“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc.,” the president wrote. “Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!”
Trump’s tweet was in response to Sessions’ announcement Tuesday that a new task force will look into the FBI’s handling of applications for surveillance orders under FISA, as outlined in House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’ memo, CNN reported.
Sessions told reporters “the inspector general will take that as one of the matters he’ll deal with.”
“We believe the Department of Justice must adhere to the highest standards in the FISA court, and yes, it will be investigated, and I think that’s just the appropriate thing,” he added.
Trump’s complaint was that the investigation was assigned to the inspector general and not to prosecutors.
The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, was confirmed for his job in 2012 under former President Barack Obama, as Trump pointed out, according to CNN.
Although he doesn’t have prosecutorial powers, he has the ability to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department after his investigations.
According to the Office of the Inspector General, their “mission is to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct in DOJ programs and personnel.”
When Nunes’ memo was released, Sessions said that any abuses of the FISA courts will be investigated.
“Congress has made inquiries concerning an issue of great importance for the country and concerns have been raised about the Department’s performance,” Sessions said in a statement at the time. “Accordingly, I will forward to appropriate DOJ components all information I receive from Congress regarding this. I am determined that we will fully and fairly ascertain the truth.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy defended Sessions’ decision to let Horowitz head the investigation, Reuters reported.
Horowitz “has been fair, fact-centric and appropriately confidential with his work,” he said. “I have complete confidence in him.”
Rep. Peter King criticized Trump’s recent attack on Sessions and said, “Not to incur the president’s wrath, but I wouldn’t do that. Jeff Sessions is loyal to the president.”
Trump has attacked Sessions in the past, specifically for recusing Trump for the investigation into the alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
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