If you’re not interested in plowing through 430-odd pages of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’ report on the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation of the Trump-Russia collusion narrative which occupied Washington for two years following the president’s inauguration, be of good cheer – you don’t need to. We’ll digest it for you in simple terms here.
If you do want to go through the report, here’s the link to it. Happy reading, and we’ll see you in a few days when you’re done.
What you’ve probably seen so far is a number of mainstream media organs touting the Horowitz report as “exonerating” the FBI and some of the players populating it during the Obama administration and beyond. Former FBI director James Comey and assistant director Andrew McCabe, for example, have been running around the country in the past day claiming vindication from the report and getting the backing of CNN and several other like-minded news outfits.
That’s bizarre. Even in the friendliest reading possible, Comey, McCabe and the rest clearly do not make out well in the Horowitz report.
What we now know, particularly given the commentary on the IG report by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has taken up a criminal investigation into the Crossfire Hurricane subject matter, and Attorney General William Barr, is that the IG report is by no means the end of the matter.
Barr’s statement from yesterday isn’t so much a rebuke of the Horowitz report as it is a declaration that it’s merely a prologue…
“Nothing is more important than the credibility and integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice. That is why we must hold our investigators and prosecutors to the highest ethical and professional standards. The Inspector General’s investigation has provided critical transparency and accountability, and his work is a credit to the Department of Justice. I would like to thank the Inspector General and his team.
The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. 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. 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.
FISA is an essential tool for the protection of the safety of the American people. The Department of Justice and the FBI are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to rectify the abuses that occurred and to ensure the integrity of the FISA process going forward.
No one is more dismayed about the handling of these FISA applications than Director Wray. I have full confidence in Director Wray and his team at the FBI, as well as the thousands of dedicated line agents who work tirelessly to protect our country. I thank the Director for the comprehensive set of proposed reforms he is announcing today, and I look forward to working with him to implement these and any other appropriate measures.
With respect to DOJ personnel discussed in the report, the Department will follow all appropriate processes and procedures, including as to any potential disciplinary action.”
Durham went event further to throw shade on the “exoneration” narrative…
[O]ur investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, 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.
How to boil this down?
Essentially, the Horowitz report is based on interviews solely with Justice Department personnel, because the IG isn’t empowered to expand its investigation to go beyond that point.
But what Horowitz found in those investigations was that the initial FISA warrants against Carter Page, a volunteer in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign who had contacts with some people who were Russian and who had been contacted by officials of a “friendly foreign government” about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, were flawed on no less than seven different bases, and the follow-on FISA warrants contained no less than 10 further flaws.
To say this constitutes an abuse of power and a violation of Page’s civil rights is to understate the matter. It’s a very flagrant assault, of significant duration, on individual freedom in America and it needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
But the IG report essentially punts on the question of whether bias caused the inception of Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI investigation which produced those FISA warrants despite the fact that it clearly found evidence of bias among the DOJ personnel participating in the investigation. That’s why Comey, McCabe and the gang are all claiming to have been exonerated, because the exercise of bias in commencing and executing Crossfire Hurricane is where a criminal conspiracy gets going. These clowns are acting like they’re in the clear not because they want their reputations salvaged – they want to stay out of jail.
But Horowitz didn’t exonerate anybody. The refusal to connect the presence of bias among the Crossfire Hurricane investigators and the abuses leading to the FISA warrants can be explained by the fact the IG didn’t go beyond interviews of DOJ personnel. Without doing so, and with the bad actors in the Obama DOJ at least having the competence not to leave a smoking gun proving their biases drove the Trump-Russia investigation, the IG can’t prove that bias is what cranked up Crossfire Hurricane in the first place. He hasn’t gone that far.
But Durham’s investigation has. That’s why Durham put the statement out yesterday that he disagrees with the IG report’s conclusions.
Crossfire Hurricane began after a “friendly foreign government” provided information leading to suspicion that Trump officials were colluding with Russia to get Hillary’s emails. What Durham is looking into, that the IG has not, is the source of the “friendly foreign government” information.
Because there is evidence that original source was the Obama administration and its former Secretary of State, who was running for president. This is where you get the involvement of Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat who essentially suckered Trump volunteer George Papadopoulos into a conversation about Hillary’s e-mails, and the involvement of the mysterious Joseph Mifsud, et cetera, and the question of Ukrainian involvement in promoting the Trump-Russia narrative which Sen. John Kennedy found himself in such hot water over discussing last week. It’s as likely now as it’s ever been that the dots will be connected to show that the entire Crossfire Hurricane/Trump-Russia/Steele Dossier spectacle was cooked up as an Obama administration and Deep State frame-up sucking in foreign actors friendly to the Clintons to build what has been shown to be a false narrative accusing a duly-elected president of, essentially, treason.
And it really oughtn’t be such a huge surprise if and when those dots are connected. Virtually every element of this has already been reported at one time or another by the same mainstream media sources which now claim the IG report exonerates Comey, McCabe and the FBI. Kennedy’s Ukraine trouble, for example, comes due to his sin of remembering what countless news organs had reported in 2017 as glowing news about how the Ukrainians had tried to help stave off Russia’s meddling in a U.S. election by blowing the whistle on Trump.
The media which ran off to exonerate James Comey and decry “debunked conspiracy theories” committed abject malpractice yesterday. This thing is as big and ugly as it always has been.
And now today, in the aftermath of the IG report, we have the House Democrats rushing out a pair of articles of impeachment before their “investigation” in the House Judiciary Committee is even remotely complete. If that doesn’t reek of an attempt to recapture the narrative, nothing does.
The question is whether those “moderate” Democrats who managed to walk away with swing House seats in the 2018 midterm elections will follow their leadership over the impeachment cliff and vote that thing into the Senate. Most of those who do won’t be members of Congress in a little more than a year.
Trump is drooling over the prospect of the Democrats voting articles of impeachment over to the Senate, because he badly wants to convert an impeachment trial into a political circus that indicts and convicts his accusers. He’ll get that, too.
We’re starting to think what’s going to happen is the Democrats will fall short of 218 votes for impeachment and they’ll flush this whole thing before it does any more permanent damage. Their problem is that Durham’s investigation is going to lead to indictments and convictions, and once it starts they have no way of stopping it short of beating Trump next November – something which will get harder and harder to do the more this entire scam is unearthed.
We wouldn’t want to be a Democrat member of the U.S. House of Representatives right now. But we’d rather be that than Comey and McCabe, because their troubles have only just begun.