Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report on how the government handled the investigation of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election found that the probe was justified and that officials were not acting based on a bias against Donald Trump.
"We did not find any documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI's decision to conduct these operations. Additionally, we found no evidence that the FBI attempted to place any [confidential human sources (CHS)] within the Trump campaign, recruit members of the Trump campaign as CHSs, or task CHSs to report on the Trump campaign," the report states.
While the report did not find evidence of bias, it did call out the FBI for how it handled the investigation, focusing on the FISA warrants they used to wiretap Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. The report found "serious performance failures," revealing that agents did not corroborate the details of a dossier produced by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, before presenting the evidence to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
"We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny. We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed."
Attorney General William Barr blasted the FBI for their "clear abuse of the FISA process."
"In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source," the attorney general said in his statement. "The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory."
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