The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) will reportedly vindicate the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a forthcoming report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The White House has repeatedly suggested that such abuses were unlawfully weaponized against certain members of President Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign.
According to the New York Times, the DOJ’s OIG “found no evidence” supporting the oft-repeated claim made by the president that the FBI placed spies or undercover agents inside of his campaign–citing anonymous sources said to be familiar with the drafting of the report.
Trump infamously claimed that he was unlawfully spied on at the direction of former president Barack Obama less than two months after taking office in a pair of early-morning tweets on March 4, 2017.
“Terrible!” the 45th president exclaimed. “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process,” Trump said roughly half an hour later. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Various permutations of those allegations have resurfaced since then.
In May 2018, Trump tweeted:
Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!
The OIG report is slated to rubbish those unproven claims that Trump and/or his campaign were victim to unlawful domestic spying.
The Times sources say the no-spying determination is likely to be one of many key findings in the report which the outlets describes as a “mixed bag of conclusions” which “is likely to give new ammunition to both Mr. Trump’s defenders and critics in the long-running partisan fight over the Russia investigation.”
As Law&Crime previously reported, one finding in the three-part document produced by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz—due for release on December 9–will be a determination that one “low-level” former FBI attorney improperly altered an application for surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Horowitz’s admonition to that attorney bears a significant caveat, however, that the alleged impropriety was apparently not material to the FISA application itself and Horowitz stood by the surveillance conducted on Page as having a “proper legal and factual basis.”
The long-awaited findings will also reportedly chastise FBI brass for being “careless and unprofessional in pursuing the Page wiretap,” according to the Times. And the report will also include a visual aid:
Mr. Horowitz will sharply criticize F.B.I. leaders for their handling of the investigation in some ways, and he unearthed errors and omissions when F.B.I. officials applied for the wiretap, according to people familiar with a draft of the report. The draft contained a chart listing numerous mistakes in the process, one of the people said.
[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]