Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks as Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Many of us are wondering when the highly anticipated DOJ Inspector General report on FISA Abuse will be released. IG Michael Horowitz delivered his completed report to Attorney General William Barr on September 13 for declassification, a process that generally takes several weeks. In two days, it will have been six weeks.
A couple of weekends ago, Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo announced that the report would be released on October 18th. She then had to walk that back and said she was hearing it would be released by the end of the month. There’s been no word on a release date since.
Last week, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) reported on “Hannity” that “intra-agency squabbles” about specific redactions were causing the slowdown. He indicated that stonewalling by FBI Director Christopher Wray was contributing to the wait.
He said, “Evidently, there’s an intra-agency debate and really a food fight if you will about the classification issues. Remember in the last report put out by Horowitz, there were only seven words or so that were redacted. The Democrats threw a fit that they couldn’t see the whole thing. This could have 10 to 20 percent of the report redacted.”
Chaffetz added that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan could be fighting its release.
I haven’t given any thought to the idea that it might not be released until today. Two items in the news caught my attention.
The first was a tweet from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-OH) which read, “All of the delays and excuses why the Horowitz IG FISA report isn’t public yet after several months of anticipation of its issues leads me to the suspicion it’s going to be ‘deep six’ [sic] by the deep state.”
All of the delays and excuses why the Horowitz IG FISA report isn’t public yet after several months of anticipation of its issues leads me to the suspicion it’s going to be “deep six” by the deep state
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) October 22, 2019
The second, and perhaps the more ominous of the two was a tweet by investigative reporter Paul Sperry. He wrote, “3/3 The IG report along with all the classified docs are still being held back from the public. If impeachment beats their release, then you know the fix is in.”
3/3 The IG report along with all the classified docs are still being held back from the public. If impeachment beats their release, then you know the fix is in.
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) October 17, 2019
This possibility, I have to say, had never occurred to me. Is he saying that Democrats could be trying to run out the clock? Are they trying to delay its release indefinitely and impeach Trump in the meantime?
Both Grassley and Sperry appear to be very reasonable men. And, it would appear that the President and the Attorney General make the decision of when to release the report.
Still, Republicans have appeared especially impotent lately. Except for a handful of House Republicans such as Devin Nunes (CA), Kevin McCarthy (CA), John Ratcliffe (NC), Jim Jordan (OH), Matt Gaetz, FL and a few others, few seem to be standing by President Trump. As I posted yesterday, Lindsey Graham, who talks a good game, has failed to act. He could be calling all of Adam Schiff’s witnesses to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee which he chairs. Last night, Graham appeared on “Hannity” and railed once again about the “illegitimate” House impeachment inquiry. He said he planned to introduce a resolution condemning the House’s action against Trump. Try doing something more constructive. Issue some subpoenas.
Many Republican senators appear to be distancing themselves from Trump. And leading that group appears to be the majority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell. My colleague, Joe Cummingham posted on this topic earlier today here.
In an interview with Sean Hannity on Monday night, President Trump said the one positive thing he could say about Democrats is that they stick together and they fight. The same cannot be said about Republicans.
This is a very critical moment for Republicans. It may even be an existential moment for the Party. Will Republicans come together and fight for the President?