President Donald Trump has launched his latest attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his investigation into the alleged surveillance abuse by the FBI.
Sessions stated on Tuesday that he has ordered the Justice Department to investigate the claim that the FBI had inappropriately surveilled the Trump campaign during the 2016 election by using improperly obtained Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.
In a tweet, President Trump calls the investigation “disgraceful” due to Sessions decision to appoint the Department of Justice inspector general rather than Justice Department lawyers, among other criticisms.
“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc,” Trump wrote. “Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!”
In the tweet, Trump questions whether the inspector general is an “Obama guy” and references the “late reports” about the IG’s investigation into broad allegations of misconduct involving FBI Director James Comey and his handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The inspector general of the Justice Department Michael E. Horowitz has held the position since 2012 when he was confirmed under then-President Obama.
Trump cites Horowitz’ lack of prosecutorial powers in his tweet criticizing Sessions’ judgment.
Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
Trump has launched several public attacks on Sessions since he recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia interfering in the U.S elections.
According to CNN, Horowitz can make criminal referrals to the Justice Department based on his investigative findings rather than prosecute himself.
The publication implies that the inspector general is an appropriate appointment for an investigation into FISA abuse. The U.S Department of Justice defines the inspector general role with the following: “investigates alleged violations of criminal and civil laws by DOJ employees.”
The allegation of FBI FISA warrant abuse comes from the highly touted memo by the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, which Trump declassified.
The memo claims the FBI obtained warrants to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page based primarily on an unverified Christopher Steele dossier, which the Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Democratic party reportedly help pay for.
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee claimed that the Republican memo was highly redacted and state that the Steele dossier wasn’t the basis for the FISA warrant.
Republicans supported Sessions after Trump criticism last year about his recusal from the Russia investigation.