The long-awaited FBI inspector general’s report was released Monday, and both sides of the debate over President Trump found something to cheer about. Michael Horowitz said the bureau was not affected by bias, a position that many people find impossible to believe. However, he also found 17 key “errors or omissions” in the way the government applied for warrants in federal court. This is disturbing indeed.
Meanwhile, federal prosecutor John Durham, who is doing a separate, less constrained investigation of the whole situation, took the unusual position of issuing a brief statement Monday saying he disagrees with some of Horowitz’s conclusions. Durham’s probe, which is now classified as a criminal investigation, is bound to present a different story.
He is likely to do a better job of finding the reasons that a report from the opposing party containing hearsay and false information was presented to a federal judge to get approval to spy on American citizens. One of the highlights emerging is that Carter Page, one of the victims of illegal surveillance, was a CIA operative, and Russian contacts he had made in serving his government and nation were portrayed as evidence against him while the CIA was relying on his reports. Some of this is material that should be confined to the works of a fiction writer.
Some housecleaning already has occurred at the FBI and Justice Department, but it is sad that the process is not over yet. And it is clear that it would not have come this far without the work of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California and some House colleagues, who have had to fight for many months to advance the investigation this far. The Horowitz report supports what they said nearly two years ago about the Steele dossier and its use, something that Democrats and the media criticized loudly at the time.
If the FBI and Justice Department can so easily take away the rights of Carter Page and a few other people, they could do it to anyone.