Monday, December 9, 2019

Russian To Judgment, Con't

The long-awaited Justice Department inspector general report on the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Donald Trump is out, and while the report is pretty scathing on what the DoJ sees as "missteps" by the FBI, the report also concludes that there was sufficient evidence to open the investigation into Trump's Russian collusion.

The 434-page report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found the FBI had an “authorized purpose” when it initiated its investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, into the Trump campaign, and rejected the assertion that the case was opened out of political animus or that informants were used in violation of FBI rules.

It asserted, though, that as the probe went on, FBI officials repeatedly decided to emphasize damaging information they heard about Trump associates, and play down exculpatory evidence they found.

Conservatives and liberals alike claimed victory in the report — with Democrats saying it validated the Russia investigation while Republicans asserted it exposed serious wrongdoing.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the inspector general had “completely demolished” some of conservatives’ assertions about the origins of the probe, though his investigators did find some problems.

“Clearly, there was a legitimate, factual basis; in fact the FBI had a moral imperative to begin this investigation,” Blumenthal said. In particular, he said the inspector general had rebutted claims that Trump campaign advisers were illegally surveilled or entrapped, or that political motive was “in any way a factor.”
In a statement, Attorney General William P. Barr disagreed with one of the inspector general’s key conclusions, saying the FBI launched an investigation of a presidential campaign “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.” So, too, did Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who Barr handpicked to conduct an investigation similar to that of Horowitz.

“Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.,” Durham said in a statement. “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.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), a strong Trump ally, said “this is not a good day for the FBI.”

“There’s more than enough evidence in this report that would suggest a major overhaul in terms of policies and procedures,” he said.

Meadows has a point, although Republicans surely didn't care about FISA reform until it was legitimately used on Donald Trump's campaign.

Oh, and the report absolutely concludes that the Russians hacked the DNC email server and laundered the emails through WikiLeaks, and it concludes it was done to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.

So no, there wasn't any "deep state" anything, just overworked FBI agents who cut corners and who have already for the most part been disciplined if not already fired.

This should put an end to all this, but of course if Barr ends it here, he's fired by Trump, so he won't leave it where things are.

Count on that.

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