The reelection campaign of President Donald Trump said findings from the highly anticipated Department of Justice Inspector General report showed “significant misconduct” carried out by the FBI under the Obama administration during the 2016 election.
“The Clinton campaign and the [Democratic National Committee] paid for foreign sources to manufacture fake dirt on President Trump and his campaign, resulting in the now-debunked Steele dossier,” written by former UK spy Christopher Steele, the campaign said in a statement on Monday following the release of the IG’s report.
“These politically motivated accusations were used to justify the surveillance of a U.S. presidential campaign by the FBI,” the campaign said, adding that the agency “falsified information and concealed evidence that didn’t fit their narrative.”
Politically motivated accusations used to justify surveillance of U.S. presidential campaign by FBI, which falsified information & concealed evidence that didn’t fit narrative. Dems & media weaponized this as Russia Collusion Hoax for more than two years and they’re still at it. pic.twitter.com/24P5Eevkfh
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) December 9, 2019
As a result, the mainstream media and Democrats “weaponized this” information as part of their “Russia collusion hoax for more than two years,” Trump’s reelection campaign wrote.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded in a report released on Monday that the four applications for warrants to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page contained 17 significant errors. The errors and other failures amounted to “serious performance failures by the supervisory and non-supervisory agents.”
In late October 2016, the FBI secured a FISA warrant to surveil Page. The bureau renewed the warrant three times, surveilling Page for a total of twelve months. The FISA warrant application featured claims from an unverified dossier of opposition research on Trump, and Steele compiled the dossier by using second- and third-hand sources with ties to the Kremlin.
“Steele himself was not the originating source of any of the factual information in his reporting,” the inspector general’s report said. “Steele instead relied on a Primary Sub-source for information, who used his/her network of sub-sources to gather information that was then passed to Steele.”
Clinton’s campaign had paid for Steele’s work, which the FBI didn’t disclose in its warrant application.
The Inspector General also said it “identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.”
In response to the report, Attorney General William Barr said the FISA system was abused as the FBI surveilled Page.
“In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source,” Barr said. “The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.”
And Vice President Mike Pence in a statement said the report shows bureaucrats in the federal government have persistently tried to undermine Trump.
“What took place here should never happen again to any President or any Administration in the future and those responsible should be held accountable,” Pence said.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.