Last Updated on December 9, 2019
The long awaited DOJ Inspector General’s report into the origins of the probe into Russian meddling into the 2016 election and persecution of President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration was released Monday afternoon, giving almost complete exoneration to the FBI for its role.
While many expected fireworks from the IG report, it appears the report fully exonerates the FBI, despite the intelligence agency spying on President Trump and his campaign, as the president noted in March of 2017.
On the matter of whether the FBI had good reason to launch Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the effort to monitor the Trump campaign, it notes:
In Crossfire Hurricane, the “articulable factual basis” set forth in the opening EC was the FFG information received from an FBI Legal Attache stating that Papadopoulos had suggested during a meeting in May 2016 with officials from a “trusted foreign partner” that the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist by releasing information damaging to candidate Clinton and President Obama.484 Additionally, by July 31, 2016, although not specifically mentioned in the EC, the FBI had reason to believe that Russia may have been connected to the WikiLeaks disclosures that occurred earlier in July 2016. Further, as we note in Chapter Three, the FBI received the FFG information at a time when the USIC, including the FBI, was aware of Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. elections. Given the low threshold for predication in the AG Guidelines and the DIOG, we concluded that the FFG information, provided by a government the USIC deems trustworthy, and describing a first-hand account from an FFG employee of the content of a conversation with Papadopoulos, was sufficient to predicate the full counterintelligence investigation because it provided the FBI an articulable factual basis that, if true, reasonably indicated activity constituting either a federal crime or a threat to national security may have occurred or may be occurring.
In short, because the FBI has a “low threshold for predication” of an investigation, the investigation was legal and lawful.
On the topic of spying on George Papadopolous, Lisa Page, General Michael Flynn, and Paul Manafort, the report notes that “the FBI had sufficient predication” for counterintelligence investigations:
We similarly concluded that the FBI had sufficient predication to open full counterintelligence investigations of Papadopoulos, Page, Flynn, and Manafort in August 2016. The investigation of Papadopoulos was predicated upon his alleged statements in May 2016 to an employee of the FFG. According to the opening EC, Papadopoulos was “identical to the individual who made statements indicating that he is knowledgeable that the Russians made a suggestion to the Trump team that they could assist the Trump campaign with an anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign.” The three other cases were predicated on information developed by the Crossfire Hurricane team through law enforcement database and open source searches, conducted to determine which individuals associated with the Trump campaign may have been in a position to have received the alleged offer of assistance from Russia. As described in Chapter Three, through these efforts, the Crossfire Hurricane team identified three individuals-Page, Manafort, and Flynn-associated with the Trump campaign with either ties to Russia or a history of travel to Russia, two of whom (Page and Manafort) were already the subjects of open FBI investigations pertaining to, in part, their Russia-related activities. The FBI determined that this information, taken together with the information from the FFG indicating Russia had made a suggestion to the Trump team that it could assist by releasing information damaging to candidate Clinton, stated an articulable factual basis reasonably indicating activity may be occurring that may constitute a federal crime or a threat to national security. As with the opening of Crossfire Hurricane, we concluded that the quantum of information articulated by the FBI to open these individual investigations was sufficient to satisfy the low threshold established by Department and FBI predication policy, particularly in the context of the FBI’s separate and ongoing investigative efforts to address Russian interference in 2016 U.S. elections.
Meanwhile, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is planning his own report that seems likely to contradict the IG report.
Giuliani went on to describe his investigation and said he plans to testify to House Republicans and to tell the President later this week.
“The whole purpose of my original investigation involved investigators in Ukraine who told me there was a bigger situation in Ukraine than there was in the Russian Hoax, and that the Russian thing was a doge. They told me that the two things [Russian Collusion Charges and Actual Ukraine Corruption] overlapped and Biden was a key player,” Giuliani said.
“Recall the video confession, this is more proof than Adam Schiff has given the American people about Trump committing any crime,” Giuliani said.
Additionally, Attorney General William Barr appears to disagree with the IG report’s findings:
It has been reported that Attorney General William Barr disagrees with this conclusion, based in part on U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. The IG performed a limited in-house review that could not explore the larger questions of alleged Russian interference. Durham’s inquiry, in contrast, has authority to investigate whether the Russia saga was a false flag operation launched by the Democratic National Committee, using the CIA and friendly governments around the world, particularly the Western puppet in Ukraine.
Additionally, U.S. Attorney John Durham has issued a response to the report, stating that his office does “not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
#BREAKING: U.S. attorney John Durham issues a response to the DOJ IG report, saying his office does "not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.” pic.twitter.com/fVwUW4NljL
— Jennifer Franco (@jennfranconews) December 9, 2019
It remains to be seen if the Attorney General or personal attorney to President Trump will have sufficient cache to override the narrative of the IG report.