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FBI not squeaky clean but in the clear
After quick fire posts, here’s a wrap on the DoJ watchdog report into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. Meanwhile, the impeachment hearing on Capitol Hill into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is ongoing.
The US Justice Department’s internal watchdog said it found numerous errors but no evidence of political bias by the FBI when it opened an investigation into contacts between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia in 2016, Reuters writes.
The report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz was likely to give ammunition to both Trump’s supporters and his Democratic critics in the ongoing debate about the legitimacy of an investigation that shadowed the first two years of his presidency.
Horowitz found that the FBI had a legal “authorized purpose” to ask for court approval to begin surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser in 2016.

But Horowitz also found a total of 17 “basic and fundamental” errors and omissions in the original application
and all subsequent renewals to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) (by agents seeking search warrants). Those errors made the case appear stronger than it was, Horowitz said.

In particular, the report singled out an FBI lawyer who altered an email contained
in a renewal of the application which claimed that Page was “not a source” to another US government agency.

In truth, Page served as an “operational contact” to another agency, which was not named in the report.
The FBI investigation, launched in the summer of 2016
ahead of the November election pitting Trump against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, was taken over in May 2017 by Robert Mueller after Trump fired FBI director James Comey.
Mueller’s 22-month special counsel investigation detailed a Russian campaign of hacking
and propaganda to sow discord in the United States, harm Clinton and boost Trump.

Mueller documented numerous contacts between Trump campaign figures and Moscow but found insufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy. He did not exonerate the president,
however, and his report also documents attempts to obstruct the investigation.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has today agreed with all of the inspector general’s findings. Attorney general Bill Barr says he has confidence in Wray.
FBI director accepts watchdog findings
FBI director Christopher Wray says he accepts the DoJ watchdog’s findings (essentially that the FBI was justified in investigating Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign
over evidence of improper links with Russian operatives, but that the FBI was sloppy in some of its execution).

Attorney general Bill Barr says he has full confidence in Wray.
The US justice epartment’s inspector general has found that an FBI investigation into advisers to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was opened on a legitimate and properly authorized basis.
in his oversight of the origins of the 🍊-🇷🇺 investigation, that political bias on the part of FBI employees did not influence the agency’s decision to open its investigation – an investigation that eventually led to Mueller’s examination of 🇷🇺 interference in the 2016 election.
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