According to the Washington Post and its unnamed sources, Attorney General William Barr disagrees with Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report due out next week regarding his conclusion that there was enough apparent evidence to justify the FBI’s opening of the Russia investigation into members of the Trump campaign.
The Post reported …
Barr has not been swayed by Horowitz’s rationale for concluding the FBI had sufficient basis to open an investigation on July 31, 2016, these people said…
The attorney general has privately contended that Horowitz does not have enough information to reach the conclusion the FBI had enough details in hand at the time to justify opening such a probe. He argues that other U.S. agencies, such as the CIA, may hold significant information that could alter Horowitz’s conclusion on that point, according to the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Barr has also praised the inspector general’s overall work on the matter, according to one person familiar with the matter. The inspector general operates independently of Justice Department leadership, so Barr cannot order Horowitz to change his findings.
Horowitz will issue his IG report, said to be more than 400 pages, on December 9, and he is expected to testify before Congress about his findings December 11.
The DOJ’s spokesperson Kerri Kupec issued a statement saying Horowitz “uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters.”
DOJ statement on upcoming IG report: pic.twitter.com/tI0O4tV0jF
— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) December 3, 2019
Rep. Mark Meadows (R) told Fox News Monday that the news reports are “based on speculation on information which has been leaked.”
“There is little doubt in my mind that it will not be one the FBI’s finest days when the report is released,” said Meadows. “No one other than Horowitz and his team knows what’s in the report and they have left no stone unturned.”
Among the areas investigated by Horowitz were the circumstances surrounding the FBI’s application for a secret warrant to monitor former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
If the Post’s story is true, it would give the president’s political opponents fuel for their claims that his “witch hunt” charges against Democrats are unfounded.
A draft of the IG report was submitted in September to the DOJ for a review of potentially classified information.
In November, Barr praised Horowitz for his independence, saying: “Inspector General Horowitz is a fiercely independent investigator, a superb investigator who I think has conducted this particular investigation in the most professional way, and I think his work, when it does come out, will be a credit to the department.”
According to the New York Times …
Mr. Barr has privately praised Mr. Horowitz for his work and has not made clear whether he will publicly disagree with the report. It is standard practice for the Justice Department to submit to the inspector general a written response to his findings, which is then included in the final assessment. Mr. Barr could use that opportunity to issue a formal rebuttal, or he could make a public statement of some other kind.
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