Justice Dept. watchdog finds political bias did not taint top officials running the FBI’s Russia probe but documents errors

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog is expected to find in a forthcoming report that political bias did not taint top officials running the FBI investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016, while at the same time criticizing the bureau for systemic failures in its handling of surveillance applications, according to two U.S. officials.

The much-anticipated report due out Dec. 9 from Inspector General Michael Horowitz will allege that a low-level FBI lawyer inappropriately altered a document that was used during the process to renew a controversial warrant for electronic surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser, the officials said. The inspector general referred that finding to U.S. Attorney John Durham, and the lawyer involved is being investigated criminally for possibly making a false statement, they said.

But Horowitz will conclude that the application still had a proper legal and factual basis, and, more broadly, that FBI officials did not act improperly in opening the Russia investigation, according to the officials, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive report.

The report generally rebuts accusations of a political conspiracy among senior law enforcement officials against the Trump campaign to favor Democrat Hillary Clinton while also knocking the bureau for procedural shortcomings in the FBI, the officials said. On balance, they said, it provides a mixed assessment of the FBI and Justice Department’s undertaking of a probe that became highly politicized and divided the nation.

“You can see how the warring factions will seize on the various parts of this to advance their respective narratives,” said a person familiar with the inspector general’s investigation.

Article URL : https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/justice-dept-watchdog-finds-political-bias-did-not-taint-top-officials-running-the-fbis-russia-probe-but-documents-other-errors/2019/11/22/4b2f51de-0d48-11ea-97ac-a7ccc8dd1ebc_story.html

%d bloggers like this: