A Department of Justice inspector general’s report is expected to give key FBI officials nothing more than a slap on the wrist for their roles in launching surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016., according to a new report.
A report in The New York Times, which was published Friday, said the full report will be released Dec. 9, but that The Times was briefed by sources it did not name who had seen a draft of the report. The Times reported that it had not examined the draft.
According to the newspaper’s report, the investigation of Inspector General Michael Horowitz condemns the FBI’s effort to seek an order to wiretap campaign advisor Carter Page as “sloppy and unprofessional.”
The draft also criticizes an FBI agent in New York for that agent’s handling of the case and bemoans the lack of coordination by the FBI and Justice Department, according to The Times.
The Times said the investigation named FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith as an individual who “altered an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap.”
Clinesmith had been part of the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia until February 2018, when the inspector general’s investigation outed him as an anti-Trump figure, The Times reported.
After Trump was elected, Clinesmith had texted a Justice Department official that “the crazies won finally” and called Vice President Mike Pence “stupid.”
Other anti-Trump figures fare better, according to the Times.
It said that Horowitz’s investigation will not rule that former FBI director James Comey, ex-deputy director Andrew G. McCabe, or Peter Strzok, a former FBI counterintelligence agent, acted solely out of their antagonism to Trump.
The investigation is not the only one examining the Russia probe and its foundations. Attorney General William Barr has assigned prosecutor John Durham to review the origins of the Russia investigation.
In its reporting, The Times indicated that the Horowitz report downplays the significance of a now-discredited dossier compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.
Trump spoke to “Fox & Friends” Friday about the report, according to Fox News, saying it would be “perhaps” the biggest political scandal in American history.
“So, you have a FISA report coming out, which the word is, it’s historic. That’s what the word is. That’s what I hear,” Trump said.
“Now, what you’re going to see, I predict, will be perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country,” he said.
“And, if it’s historic, you’re going to see something. And then, perhaps even more importantly, you have Durham coming out shortly thereafter — he’s the U.S. attorney — and he’s already announced it’s criminal,” Trump said.
Trump summed up his verdict on those who launched the surveillance by saying, “I’ll tell you what, you have a lot of very, very bad people. A lot of people like to say ‘deep state.’ I don’t say ‘deep state,’ but they are a lot of very sick, very bad people.”
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