Barr comments, new report that the Justice Department’s internal watchdog is scrutinizing the role of an FBI informant who…
Fox News: “This type of partisan talking point may please Donald Trump, who rails against a ‘deep state coup,'” Schiff said, “but it also strikes another destructive blow to our democratic institutions. The hardworking men and women at the DOJ and FBI deserve better.”
Barr’s comments, and the ensuing semantic hullabaloo, followed a new report that the Justice Department’s internal watchdog is scrutinizing the role of an FBI informant who contacted members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, as part of a broader review of the early stages of the Russia investigation.
The New York Times reported that Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz is looking into informant Stefan Halper’s work during the Russia probe, as well as his work with the FBI prior to the start of that probe.
Trump, for his part, has vowed to release surveillance warrant applications used to monitor his former aide, Carter Page, beginning in October 2016. The FBI’s partisan sources in those applications have come under scrutiny, and FBI text messages obtained by Fox News show high-level concerns at the DOJ as to the credibility of sources presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.
A separate DOJ IG investigation into potential FISA abuses by the FBI, which is expected to look at whether the bureau improperly presented misleading sources or withheld exculpatory information in its presentations to the FISA court, is ongoing. Barr said that review is likely to be completed by May or June.
In particular, the FBI assured the FISA court on numerous occasions — in the October 2016 warrant application and in subsequent renewals — that other sources, including a Yahoo News article, independently corroborated Steele’s claims, without evidence to back it up. It later emerged that Steele was also the source of the Yahoo News article, written by reporter Michael Isikoff.
The FBI also quoted directly from a disputed Washington Post opinion piece to argue that Trump’s views on providing lethal arms to Ukraine, and working toward better relations with Russia, was a possible indicator that the campaign had been compromised.
Trump’s policy on Ukraine weapons at the time mirrored then-President Obama’s policy, and the FBI did not present an independent assessment of the accuracy of the Post piece in its warrant application.
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