The eagerly anticipated 434-page report from Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Justice Department, that scrutinizes the FBI’s conduct of the initial stages of their investigation into the links between Russia and the campaign of Donald Trump was finally released today.
The Washington Post managed to get an advance look at the document and found that it should rightfully silence the accusations from Donald Trump and his “deep state” conspiracy-minded followers that there was any illegal spying being conducted on his campaign or that there was any political bias involved in the decision to begin the investigations.
“The inspector general concludes that the FBI had an ‘authorized purpose’ to initiate the investigation and that the bureau’s use of confidential informants was in compliance with the rule,” the Post reports.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) had a chance to review the report ahead of its public release and stated that the inspector general had “completely demolished” right-wing talking points about the illegitimacy of the FBI probe even though some problems were found with the behavior of a lower-level FBI lawyer in the FISA warrant application process.
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“Clearly, there was a legitimate, factual basis; in fact the FBI had a moral imperative to begin this investigation,” Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal went on to say that the report should lay to rest accusations that there was any illegal surveillance or entrapment of Trump campaign advisers and that political motive was “in any way a factor.”
Of course, what should happen and what will actually happen in Washington DC’s polarized political environment are two completely different things.
Ignoring the primary conclusions of the report that the FBI investigation was based on reasonable suspicions and untainted by bias at any level of the bureau’s senior management, Trump’s Republican defenders seized on the procedural errors made by the lawyer and some other FBI officials to try to again discredit the investigation.
Attorney General William Barr predictably dismissed Inspector General Horowitz’s conclusions that the investigation was properly justified, saying that the inquiry was launched “on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.”
Barr fails to mention that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his former personal attorney Michael Cohen are both currently languishing in prison due to information that the FBI investigation began to uncover before it was taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Not to mention the fact that his close political advisor Roger Stone has been convicted and is awaiting sentencing for his crimes surrounding his campaign shenanigans with WikiLeaks.