A Justice Department inspector general report on the early days of the Russia investigation identified problems that are “unacceptable and unrepresentative of who we are as an institution,” FBI Director Chris Wray said Monday.
The report outlined 17 instances of misconduct by the FBI. The report, which also claimed that there was justification for the Russia witch hunt, caused an immediate outcry among President Donald Trump’s loyalists — including a scathing statement by Attorney General William Barr on Monday.
And what he and his allies are saying means that the so-called “Deep State” is in big trouble.
“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,” Barr’s statement said. “It is also clear that from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance were pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration.”
That’s not all.
U.S. Attorney John Durham also announced Monday that he rejected the key findings in the report written by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz. The bombshell announcement has caused a whirlwind of speculation over what Durham has uncovered in his ongoing review into potential spying against Trump’s presidential campaign by former President Barack Obama.
“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Durham said in a statement.
Durham continued, saying his “investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department.” Durham said he has “developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.” that contradicts the Inspector General report.
In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Wray said the FBI had cooperated fully with the inspector general — which concluded in its report that the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia was legitimate but also cited serious flaws — and accepted all its recommendations.
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President Donald Trump challenged his FBI director in a tweet Tuesday, claiming the bureau is “badly broken” and incapable of being fixed.
I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019
Wray was not FBI director when the Russia investigation began and has so far avoided commenting in-depth on the probe, one of the most politically sensitive inquiries in bureau history and one that Trump has repeatedly denounced as a “witch hunt.”
The report claimed the FBI was justified in opening its investigation in the summer of 2016 into the Trump presidential campaign.
But it also identified “serious performance failures” up the bureau’s chain of command, including 17 “significant inaccuracies or omissions” in applications for a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and subsequent warrant renewals.
The errors, the watchdog said, resulted in “applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article