One of the accusations in Donald Trump‘s narrative that people in Washington want to overthrow his presidency is that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign. The president recently made the accusation following a report alleging an FBI agent might have altered a document that permitted the agency to monitor his former campaign adviser, Carter Page.
NBC News reports that a draft copy of a Department of Justice (DOJ) report from the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, concludes that the FBI didn’t spy on Trump’s 2016 campaign. According to NBC News, a “person familiar with the document” confirmed this to the network.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that the news is expected to come in a December 9 report from Horowitz, which examines specific facets of the Russia investigation. The outlet claimed that the report is likely to reveal that Horowitz did not find evidence of FBI efforts to place undercover agents or informants into Trump’s campaign.
The FBI investigation under scrutiny began in July 2016. Codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, it was reportedly initiated after learning that former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos was offered information that could damage Hillary Clinton by a Russian intermediary.
Although the recent news from NBC and The New York Times — if true — will undercut Trump and conservative arguments that the president’s 2016 campaign was spied on, the latter outlet also reported that Horowitz would “sharply criticize” FBI leaders for the way they handled the investigation at times. For example, Horowitz reportedly discovered omissions and errors when the agency’s officials applied the wiretap.
Although Horowitz’s report is not final, The New York Times reported that the “mixed bag of conclusions” will likely provide ammunition for the president and his defenders in the “partisan fight” over the Russia investigation.
This is incredible spin -- we didn't spy on the Trump campaign, just four individuals who happened to work on it: pic.twitter.com/MJ7VDaTn7G— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 27, 2019
Back in April, Attorney General William Barr suggested that the federal government spied on Trump’s campaign.
“For the same reason we’re worried about foreign influence in elections… I think spying on a political campaign — it’s a big deal, it’s a big deal,” Barr said.
Not long after, Trump seized on Barr’s comment.
“I think what he said was absolutely true. There was absolutely spying into my campaign. I’ll go a step further — in my opinion, it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again.”
But Trump’s appointed FBI director, Christopher Wray, said in May that he does not believe any surveillance of people in the president’s campaign was tantamount to “spying,” nor does he believe there was evidence of such.
“I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort,” Wray said.