Department of Justice (DoJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s report on surveillance of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign is close to release. Best guess is the second week of December. The timing will be somewhere around an expected House vote on impeachment.
The Dems likely want the impeachment vote complete before the IG report is made public. Look for the bum’s rush soon.
There’s no sense clouding the impeachment decision with facts. Most especially inconvenient facts or facts raising inconvenient questions. The president is expecting big things from the report. He is prone to hyperbole, however, his assessment was, “Now what you’re going to see, I predict, will be perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country…” Those comments came in a phone interview with “Fox & Friends.” Horowitz is scheduled to testify December 11 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. We can only assume that testimony will concern the report.
The Horowitz report concerns the FBI’s actions surrounding obtaining a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The warrant was then used to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Among the IG conclusions, it is speculated there will be one that, an FBI lawyer wrongfully altered an email regarding the application for the FISA warrant. Media reporting is the report determines there were proper legal grounds to seek the FISA warrant. The media reporting leaves unanswered whether or not the process tainted. The reporting leaves unexamined the entire FISA process. Horowitz Report on Surveillance is Close
Who done it?
The lawyer involved worked for the FBI. Surprising right? Kevin Clinesmith, was “Attorney 2” in the June 2018 IG report about the FBI investigation of Hillary’s private email server. Clinesmith worked with line FBI agents on the surveillance warrants targeting Page. He reportedly altered an email message that he received from another federal official.
Clinesmith sent the altered message to supervisors. Those supervisors were working to obtain the FISA warrant. He did not tell them that he made changes to the information or what the changes were. There are questions: Was this a case of I’ll lie and you swear to it? Was this a case of the superiors not wanting to know? Is this standard practice by the agency? How many times has it occurred before?
Clinesmith wrote a number of emails, texts, and communications expressing anti-Trump animus. His position is he was only expressing his personal views. He maintains his personal positions did not affect his work. His work will demonstrate by his inclusion of personal positions in professional communications this is open to debate.
Who did he work for?
Clinesmith became part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team. We all understand at this point . The probe found no evidence of Russia conspiracy. Clinesmith worked for the FBI’s National Security Branch. Then-General Counsel James A. Baker was his boss. Horowitz Report on Surveillance is Close.
Baker came under scrutiny for sharing classified information with the media. This resulted in his replacement, reassignment, then resigned from the FBI in May 2018. Media reports Baker met with a lawyer from Perkins Coie. Perkins Coie is the Seattle-based law firm representing the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election cycle. They are implicated in communication of the opposition research Steele dossier.
Is there a hook to the impeachment?
The IG report doesn’t have any legal connection with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. The House accusations are about Trump pressuring the Ukrainian government for personal gain. The Democrats assert Trump required Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The quid pro quo was alleged to be $391 million in congressionally approved military assistance. So there does not appear to be any tie to impeachment. So why is the Judiciary taking up the matter in the middle of the impeachment hearings?
The report may tie into a larger political narrative. It does appear it goes to the anti-Trump sentiment in the DOJ. Will that help balance the debate? The IG report appears to be a vehicle for information Adam who is full of Schiff does not want open for discussion. Some contend the allegations of the impeachment inquiry involve appointed State Department and intelligence officials having a policy disagreement with the president. Exposing the depth and breadth of the animus may become germane.
Will the IG report support accounts of a bureaucratic push against Trump? Are appointed DoJ State, FBI, Intelligence officials actively working against Trump during the campaign and after the election? Who is actually running this government? Is the fourth branch of government fully in control? Even if the IG report demonstrates felonies from a coup it does not have anything to do with the impeachment. What this may do is reinforce the broader skepticism of the entire impeachment process, and the perceptions it’s about getting Trump.
IG Report and the Criminal Probe
The IG’s findings could have an indirect political effect on the impeachment inquiry. They may directly provide either fuel or extinguish U.S. Attorney Durham’s criminal investigation. He is looking into government surveillance of the Trump campaign. The IG cannot bring criminal charges or issue subpoenas. Durham can do both.
Will the IG report show there was a major law enforcement effort to stop Trump? Was it illegal? There is a lot of activity that is horrible. There was the Peter Strzok-Lisa Page texts which were fireable, but it weren’t illegal. With the FISA court, it depends. We might find something shocking that isn’t actually illegal. We should be concerned that federal law enforcement are motivated by politics. Worse yet they now seem willing and able to attempt to influence an election. Horowitz Report on Surveillance is Close