The long-awaited report on the FBI's Russia investigation was released Monday, revealing no political bias on behalf of the bureau but pointing the finger at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court's processes as faulty and worthy of review.
"Because the process is not adversarial in any way, the FISC generally assert the reliability of info provided by the FBI, which allows errors or misrepresentations to become justification for surveillance," tweeted The Atlantic's Adam Serwer.
The report was the product of an investigation by the office of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG), known as Crossfire Hurricane, that addressed allegations of bias and impropriety on behalf of FBI agents investigating connections between the President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia. While the report found that the FBI was justified in opening the investigation, it faulted agents and the FISA Court process, calling the process to obtain a warrant to investigate Trump ally Carter Page misleading.
As Politico reported:
Horowitz found that the Crossfire Hurricane team omitted several important details from their applications for a FISA warrant on Page, "including information the FBI had obtained from another U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page."
That information included the relevant fact that Page, Horowitz wrote, "had been approved as an 'operational contact' for the other agency from 2008 to 2013," and that he had informed that agency about his previous interactions with "certain Russian intelligence officers." An FBI lawyer apparently altered an email from the other government agency by inserting the words "not a source," Horowitz found, leading a supervisory agent to sign off on the third warrant renewal for Page without disclosing his past relationship with the other agency.
"If the FBI was this negligent and/or malicious in a FISA surveillance application that it knew would get the maximum amount of scrutiny, what does it say for the thousands and thousands of others that they will forever keep secret?" wondered Freedom of the Press executive director Trevor Timm.
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If the FBI was this negligent and/or malicious in a FISA surveillance application that it knew would get the maximum amount of scrutiny, what does it say for the thousands and thousands of others that they will forever keep secret? https://t.co/mqKwMCkPni pic.twitter.com/OvpOW1WTC2— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) December 9, 2019
Politicians on either side of the aisle made clear the report wouldn't change their positions on the issue.
In a statement, Attorney General Bill Barr, a staunch Trump ally, disagreed with the finding that the FBI was justified in opening the investigation.
"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," said Barr.
Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairs of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Reform Committees, respectively, issued a statement welcoming the findings.
"The report issued today by the Inspector General debunks the conspiracy theories about the Mueller report and the Russia investigation that President Trump and Republicans in Congress have pushed for years," said Nadler and Maloney. "Those discredited conspiracy theories were attempts to deflect from the president's serious and ongoing misconduct, first urging Russia and now extorting Ukraine into interfering with our elections to benefit himself personally and politically."
"The facts are uncontested: the president's pressure campaign to secure politically-motivated investigations to help his 2020 reelection is a serious abuse of power," the duo added. "President Trump is a continuing threat to our elections and the sanctity of our democracy."