On 15 December, Donald Trump accused Justice Department Inspector General IG Michael Horowitz of overlooking bias within the FBI while issuing a FISA warrant to authorise spying on the Trump campaign in 2016.
"As bad as the IG Report is for the FBI and others, and it is really bad, remember that IG Horowitz was appointed by Obama. There was tremendous bias and guilt exposed, so obvious, but Horowitz couldn’t get himself to say it. Big credibility loss. Obama knew everything!", the US president tweeted.
The Horowitz Report was released on 9 December and exposed a considerable number of procedural violations by the FBI in acquiring the FISA warrant. Nevertheless, the inspector general stated that Operation Crossfire Hurricane into the alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia, officially opened on 31 July 2016, was not politically motivated and was kicked off with appropriate predication. Earlier this year, a report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no collusion between Trump's associates and Russian officials.
If IG Horowitz, FBI Were Interested in 'Truth' They Wouldn't Have Given Hillary Free Pass
According to Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist, "by concentrating the analysis upon the period 28 July 2016 forward, IG Horowitz and his staff may not have devoted the resources necessary to understand the fuller context, and likely further tipped the scale against candidate Donald Trump".
The analyst highlights that "the FBI is expected to conduct its operations and investigations without serving or opposing partisan, political interests, candidates, and elected officials". Given this, it looks rather strange that the inspector general somehow turned a blind eye to anti-Trump messages between then FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, who led the agency's Trump-Russia probe, and then FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
"As in the case of Peter Strzok, who could not bring himself to admit that his text messages with lover and FBI lawyer Lisa Page exposed bias, my initial read suggests that the whole premise of the latest report from Justice Department Inspector General Horowitz is biased in the extreme", the investigative journalist presumes.
Ortel argues that if the FBI and IG Horowitz "were sincerely interested in arriving at 'truths'", they would have never given a free pass to Hillary Clinton over her non-secure private server and the controversy surrounding the Clinton Foundation's alleged "pay-to-play" schemes.
As a result, one consequence of the FBI’s decisions starting 28 July 2016, and IG Horowitz’s decisions afterwards was to leave one candidate – Hillary Clinton – primarily cleared and the other candidate – Donald Trump – under an array of storm clouds through and then after the 2016 election, the investigative journalist underscores.
"In addition, the FBI and IG Horowitz continue to display bias by failing, comprehensively, to explain exactly how WikiLeaks obtained the DNC emails", the analyst stresses, referring to the much-discussed DNC "hacking" scandal groundlessly attributed to Russia.
Durham & Barr Disagree With Horowitz's Conclusions
Immediately after the release of the Horowitz Report, US Attorney John Durham, who has been tasked with looking into the origins of the FBI probe into the alleged Trump-Russia links by Attorney General William Barr, released a statement saying that "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".
The very next day, speaking to MSNBC AG Barr said that he disagreed with Horowitz on "whether there was sufficient predication to open a full-blown counterintelligence investigation, specifically using the techniques that they did to collect intelligence about the Trump campaign". According to the attorney general, the FBI's Operation Crossfire Hurricane was launched on the "thinnest of suspicions".
AG Barr on the IG Report and FISA Abuse pic.twitter.com/rvapwMpaaY— Benny (@bennyjohnson) December 10, 2019
"As I understand the process, IG Horowitz’s role is much more circumscribed than that of US Attorney John Durham and AG William Barr who are tasked with prosecuting and obtaining convictions for actual crimes, working with grand juries and employing subpoenas, as appropriate", says Charles Ortel.
The Wall Street analysts highlights that "while it may technically prove true that the FBI was within its rights to open Operation Crossfire Hurricane by 31 July 2016", a lot of questions with regard to how this operation was started, why it relied on an uncorroborated "dodgy dossier" by an ex-MI6 agent from Britain, and who vetted the staff of Special Counsel Mueller remain unanswered.
In response to Barr and Durham's remarks Horowitz told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on 11 December that his team "stand by [their] findings", adding that he was "surprised" by Durham's statement.
FBI, DOJ 'Trained Vast Resources' Against Trump
However, the Horowitz Report has still proven damning to the FBI as the nearly 500-page "Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation" shed light on at least 17 "serious performance failures" of various Justice Department procedures related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment (FISA) warrants obtained by the agency for the purposes of spying on Trump aides.
"Though the latest Horowitz report does not connect the dots, information presented therein makes plain that the FBI and others in the Department of Justice trained the vast resources of our federal government against Carter Page and other individuals connected to Donald Trump on manifestly false pretences, which many knew to be false starting by January 2017", Ortel underscores.
According to the investigative journalist, the scale of bias from the US left-wing camp and its associates in the media, government agencies, and academia, faced by President Trump immediately after the 2016 election was appalling.
The analyst recalls a 14 November 2016 op-ed for Politico by Kenneth P. Vogel, who described how the Democracy Alliance donor club brought together all prominent Democratic figures including Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren and Keith Ellison immediately after the vote to discuss "full-on trench warfare against Trump from Day One".
As Gara LaMarche, the president of the DA, noted in his emails to donors, obtained by Vogel, the meeting was focused on "what steps we will take together to… take back power, beginning in the states in 2017 and 2018".
"When Barack Obama won the 2008 election, we were told that 'elections have consequences' and most cheerfully allowed the incoming Obama Administration wide latitude to conduct its various initiatives, and to confirm its appointees. In contrast, resistance to Donald Trump reared its head starting the night his victory was secured in November 2016 and seems to continue to the present day", Ortel concludes.