Barr disputes IG finding, says Trump campaign probe based on ‘insufficient’ suspicions

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s long-awaited report into possible abuse of the FISA process in 2016 was released on Monday.

While the report detailed “significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised,” it ultimately found no “documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to conduct these operations,” but not everyone agrees with that assessment.

“Thinnest of suspicions”

Notably, one of those disputing some of the report’s findings is Attorney General Bill Barr.

In a statement issued on Monday, Barr reiterated his view 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,” he added.

“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,” Barr opined.

Durham weighs in

U.S. Attorney John Durham is currenty leading a broad-based criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, and in a statement of his own, he offered an even sharper reaction to Horowitz’s findings.

“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff,” Durham began.

“However,” he continued, “our 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,” Durham stated.

Graham’s take

Perhaps the most stinging response came from Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who declared, “I believe there will be no debate among reasonably minded people, particularly lawyers, about how the system got off the rails, but in my view became a criminal enterprise to defraud the FISA court, to deny American citizen Carter Page his constitutional rights, and to continue an operation against President Trump as president of the United States.”

Horowitz is expected to testify on Dec. 11 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Graham serves as chairman.

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