If you’ve been skeptical about IG Horowitz’s much promoted report on the Trump-Russia investigation, this may not be much of a surprise.
Both The Washington Post and The New York Times are rushing to get out ahead of the report’s release, saying that it will “debunk” many Republican claims surrounding the investigation that started in 2016. This is all coming from unnamed “officials,” because these bureaucracies never stop leaking.
A highly anticipated report by the Justice Department’s inspector general is expected to sharply criticize lower-level F.B.I. officials as well as bureau leaders involved in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation, but to absolve the top ranks of abusing their powers out of bias against President Trump, according to people briefed on a draft.
Investigators for the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, uncovered errors and omissions in documents related to the wiretapping of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page — including that a low-level lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, altered an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap, the people said.
Now, if you want to question the Times’ reporting here, you wouldn’t be blamed. For starters, the report itself is not even done yet. Secondly, none of these people have actually read it. All of this likely has to do with certain officials being given excerpts to respond to during the comment period.
Some who’ve followed this story closely think this is just an attempt to get ahead of the news cycle before the report drops, i.e. that it will actually contain more damaging information that the media’s tame description.
Here’s what you can probably count on. The report will almost certainly take the easy way out, in that Horowitz (an Obama appointee) will do exactly what he did in his report on the Hillary investigation. He’ll point out mountains of improper behavior and breaches of protocol, but in the end, he’ll conclude that he couldn’t prove political bias.
Remember, in the Hillary report, we actually had text messages clearly spelling out animosity toward Trump by top FBI officials, yet Horowitz still claimed he couldn’t find any political bias. Apparently, he’d need someone to turn over a notarized letter spelling it out to such to find it.
Meanwhile, there is reason to believe the Times and others are misrepresenting what the report will be.
Has NYT ever referred to the stuff in the Steele dossier and all of the other unfounded allegations made about Trump & Co. as "conspiracy theories"? Just wondering. https://t.co/pgpBlbg3My pic.twitter.com/G7mjYLXDnt
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) November 22, 2019
Notice the disclaimer at the end that it “could contain other significant findings.” But no matter, they’ve got their leaks so they’ll run with a story proclaiming everyone is in the clear before they even read it.
My final take on this is that the report will be worse than what the Times is trying to paint (i.e. there will be misconduct reported on), but that ultimately no one of note goes to jail and that the political aspect is punted on even though it’s so patently obvious.
We’ll see what happens. Whether the Durham investigation goes farther than this coming report (he actually has subpoena power) will be interesting to see.
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