The release of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's 476-page report on the FBI's investigation into President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign was good news and bad for both Democrats and Republicans. Although the inquiry found evidence of misconduct among lower-level FBI officials and abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process, it ultimately concluded that the FBI had reason to begin the probe into Trump's campaign. Regardless, George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley blasted the report in a recent op-ed for The Hill, calling it "damning" for the FBI and "unsettling" for everyone else.
Turley notes that Horowitz found numerous "false and even falsified representations" that drove the investigation into Trump's campaign forward, and the legal scholar cast doubt on Horowitz's focus on the standard for starting the investigation.
"This is akin to reviewing the Titanic and saying that the captain was not unreasonable in starting the voyage. The question is what occurred when icebergs began appearing. "In addition, Turley writes that "investigative icebergs" came early in the investigation and added that the Department of Justice did not report such issues to the FISA court. Turley also said that the DOJ removed evidence that the investigation was "on a collision course with the facts."
The 58-year-old lawyer highlighted the DOJ's alleged failure to interview important individuals and vet important information and sources in Christopher Steele's dossier, which was reportedly funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign. Per The Hill, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — who was later fired for his conduct in the investigation — pushed investigators to use the dossier to help spark the case to the FISA court after the DOJ found no probable cause to wiretap Carter Page, a former member of Trump's campaign.Writing for Bloomberg, Eli Lake echoed Turley's concern over the FBI's handling of the surveillance of Page, a process Lake notes was "riddled with errors of fact and omitted exculpatory information."
Lake noted that the critical part of Page's surveillance is not his fate but the "window" the public received into the process for obtaining warrants for electronic surveillance from a secret court. Most importantly, Lake said it showed that the system can be "easily gamed."
"The party is increasingly becoming the chief defender of the national surveillance state," Lake wrote of the findings.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the IG report was damning for Trump as well, as it revealed that Steele — whose dossier has been attacked repeatedly by Trump — claimed he was "friendly" with the president's oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump.
"He described their relationship as 'personal' and said that he once gifted a family tartan from Scotland to the family member," the report reads, per NPR.