Attorney General William Barr said the release of an internal watchdog investigation into whether the FBI followed its own policies and the law when it applied for a warrant to surveil President Trump’s campaign starting in 2016 is “imminent.”
“It’s my understanding that it is imminent,” Barr said at a conference in Memphis, Tennessee. “A number of people who are mentioned in the report are having an opportunity to right now to comment on how they’re quoted in the report, and after that process is over—it should be very short—the report will be issued,” he said, according to The Hill.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is leading the investigation, told Congress in a letter in October that he is looking to make as much of the report as public as possible with few redactions.
“Inspector General Horowitz is a fiercely independent investigator, a superb investigator who I think has conducted this particular investigation in the most professional way, and I think his work, when it does come out, will be a credit to the department,” Barr said, according to The Associated Press.
The release of the report comes at a critical time for the Trump presidency as House Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry into whether Trump pressured Ukraine while withholding aid to the Eastern European country.
Trump has often said the investigation as to whether Russia had ties with his campaign is “a hoax,” a “witch hunt,” and has assailed the current impeachment inquiry as a Democrat-led continuation of that “sham” process. Former special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated whether Trump had ties to Russia, concluded that there was no collusion.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Wednesday suggested that the report could come out before the month’s end.
“If FISA Inspector General Horowitz report doesn’t come out next week when they said it would then I will be very disappointed & left to wonder WHAT THE GAME IS?? Is someone at FBI or DOJ tying IGs hands??” he tweeted.
At the core of the scandal is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant the FBI obtained to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The bureau used an unverified dossier of opposition research in the FISA warrant application, without mentioning that the dossier was funded by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
If FISA Inspector General Horowitz report doesn’t come out next week when they said it would then I will be very disappointed & left to wonder WHAT THE GAME IS?? Is someone at FBI or DOJ tying IGs hands??
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) November 12, 2019
Republicans have alleged that the Department of Justice and FBI officials under the Obama administration misled the FISA court system by using an unverified dossier compiled by former UK spy Christopher Steele to get warrants to monitor Page. Democrats and FBI officials have dismissed their allegations.
Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, said he received an update from Barr on the coming report.
“I think his report is going to be stunning. I think it is going to be damning. I think it’s going to prove that the system got off the rails and we need corrective action. Where I go from there, I won’t know until I hear from him,” he told Fox News on Nov. 6.
Ivan Pentchuokov contributed to this report.