A long-awaited report by the Justice Department’s inspector general released on Monday sharply criticized the F.B.I.’s handling of a wiretap application used in the early stages of its Russia investigation but exonerated former bureau leaders of President Trump’s accusations that they engaged in a politicized conspiracy to sabotage him.
Investigators uncovered “no documentary or testimonial evidence” of political bias behind official actions related to the investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, said the report, which totaled more than 400 pages. The F.B.I. had sufficient evidence in July 2016 to lawfully open the investigation, and its use of informants to approach campaign aides followed procedures, the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, determined.
But Mr. Horowitz also uncovered substantial dysfunction, carelessness and serious errors in one part of the sprawling inquiry: the F.B.I.’s applications for court orders approving a wiretap targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser with ties to Russia, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. He found that one low-ranking F.B.I. lawyer altered a related document and referred the lawyer for possible prosecution.
Given the highly fraught context of investigating someone linked to a presidential campaign, the report said, the Crossfire Hurricane investigators knew their work would be scrutinized — yet they nevertheless “failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were ‘scrupulously accurate.’”
This AG Barr statement:— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) December 9, 2019
“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.”
NEW: John Durham says they "do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.” pic.twitter.com/GfKezyK9kV— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 9, 2019
BREAKING: FBI Dir. Chris Wray "The inspector general did not find political bias or improper motivations impacting the opening" of Russia probe, "or the decision to use certain investigative tools."@PierreTABC: "Included FISA?"— ABC News (@ABC) December 9, 2019
Wray: "Including FISA." https://t.co/Xl47zHIj6X pic.twitter.com/tKxYqXbvTU
TRUMP on the IG report: "This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow -- and a lot of people were in on it." (Trump was a private citizen when the Russia investigation began.) pic.twitter.com/g8saDzcs5F— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 9, 2019