Justice Department (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz publicly released his much-anticipated report on Dec. 9. Immediately thereafter, many Democrats, “anti-Trumpers,” and news outlets touted the IG’s findings as a victory for the left and a devastating loss for the president and Republicans.
While Horowitz didn’t necessarily find evidence of documented political bias surrounding the 2016 probe and the application for multiple Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, his report didn’t vindicate anyone, and any celebrations to that effect are premature and self-serving.
As reported by Fox News:
“Horowitz released his report Monday saying his investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding efforts to launch that 2016 probe and to seek a highly controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early months of the investigation. Still, it found that there were ‘significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised.'”
These conclusions were, understandably, disappointing to many of the president’s supporters and to those who insist on “equal justice under the law.” On the other hand, some “anti-Trumpers” and Democrats were jovial and, dare to say, smug, once the findings were released.
For example, in a recent interview with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, former FBI Director James Comey stated:
“It was all made up. Two years of sitting silently at the FBI while you are lied about and finally the truth is out. It was lies. There was no treason. There was no conspiracy. There was no tapping of Trump’s wires. There was no putting informants in the campaign. It was all nonsense. And the FBI finally has its day with the American people and I hope they pay attention to it.”
Moreover, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, stated, in part:
“Today’s Office of the Inspector General report is an exhaustive review of the decisions made by the FBI and DOJ in the course of the Clinton email investigation. The IG found no evidence that former FBI Director James Comey and other FBI and DOJ officials acted on the basis of political bias or other improper considerations.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed Schiff’s sentiment and stated:
“This authoritative, objective report completely demolishes President Trump’s false claims and right-wing conspiracy theories that the Russia investigation involved political bias or other improper motive. … It explodes President Trump’s fictitious narrative about a ‘witch hunt’ or ‘deep state’ cabal causing a well-founded federal inquiry. Clearly, there was a legitimate, factual basis to begin this investigation.”
To those who are singing and dancing, perhaps they should put their celebrations on ice, as they’re premature and inaccurate for several reasons.
First, Horowitz’s investigation was limited in scope. Specifically, as IG, he was only permitted to question current department employees and didn’t have criminal authority. U.S. Attorney John Durham’s authority is much broader in nature.
As reported in the Hartford Courant:
“Durham has criminal authority in a far broader investigation that encompasses decisions by law enforcement and intelligence agencies both in the U.S. and abroad. Durham can convene a grand jury, compel witnesses to testify and prosecute crimes. As Justice Department inspector general, Horowitz lacks criminal authority and can question only current department employees.
“Durham has the authority to prosecute criminal violations in the warrant application process — if he finds evidence of such violations in in the Horowitz report or elsewhere.”
Given the vast differences in power, it’s quite possible that Horowitz didn’t know everything that Durham currently knows when he formulated his report. That’s likely one of the reasons why Attorney General William Barr and Durham issued separate, yet blistering, statements following the release of the IG report.
A second reason against such premature celebrations directly relates to what Horowitz did find. Specifically, the IG report found multiple mistakes, failures, or omissions by Comey’s associates, such as providing inaccurate or incomplete information when applying for a FISA warrant, relying on a dossier of dubious reliability when obtaining the warrants, and omitting exculpatory statements when applying for one or more FISA warrants.
Such conduct shouldn’t be celebrated. It’s also not “vindicating” in nature. To the contrary, should the facts warrant, Durham could utilize these findings should he decide that criminal prosecution is warranted.
While those on the left and some “anti-Trumpers” continue to celebrate Horowitz’s findings, others must wait for Durham to complete his work before passing judgment.
Horowitz’s conclusions, while disappointing to some, don’t vindicate anyone. To the contrary, although his investigation was very limited in scope, Horowitz still found numerous violations and/or “misdeeds.” That should concern some people, as Durham’s investigatory powers are much more extensive.
This fact, along with Durham and Barr’s recent statements, tend to indicate that the book is far from closed and that all celebrations resulting from Horowitz’s report should be put on ice for the time being.
Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.