I know there is a lot of frustration and distrust of Attorney General Barr's willingness to hold to account the members of the Deep State who plotted against President Trump. But I think I understand the reason that the long awaited Inspector General Report on FISA abuse has been delayed until now (Lindsey Graham insists the report will be released on 9 December 2019).
The answer lies in the timeline, which provides clues about what is going on behind the scene.
Bill Barr was confirmed as Attorney General on February 14, 2019, by a 54–45 near party-line vote. When he came into office he had no magic, insider knowledge about the plot against Trump by the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. What he learned in the subsequent months apparently shocked and alarmed him.
The first revelations for Barr came when Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller submitted his highly flawed report to Barr on March 22, 2019. The redacted version of the 448-page report was publicly released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 18, 2019. I have written extensively about the fraudulent, dishonest nature of that report (see here and here).
While Barr's folks were working on declassifying the Mueller report, he commented on the Horowitz investigation into the FISA process used on Trump targets:
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's investigation into possible abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the Justice Department and FBI should be complete in the next couple months, Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday.
During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Justice Department’s budget proposal, Barr said “the Office of the Inspector General has a pending investigation of the FISA process in the Russian investigation, and I expect that that will be complete probably in May or June, I am told.” (April 9, 2019)
Around the same time (Apr 7, 2019) California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, announced he was planning to send eight criminal referrals to Attorney General William Barr.
On April 10, 2019, Barr stated the following during his testimony to Congress:
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Mr. Barr said, adding that he believed “spying did occur.” Mr. Trump and his allies have accused the F.B.I. and other government officials of abusing their power and cooking up the Russia investigation to sabotage the president.
“I am not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it’s important to look at them,” Mr. Barr said. Later he said he wanted to ensure that there was no “improper surveillance” — not suggesting there had been, but that the possibility warranted review.
One month later (May 13, 2019) Attorney General William P. Barr assigned the John Durham, top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the Russia investigation, according to the New York Times. This is where the original timeline for releasing the Horowitz report was derailed and delayed.
On July 5th we learned via a leak that Horowitz uncovered new information that caused him to expand his investigation and re-interview several witnesses:
At least one key witness in the Justice Department inspector general's investigation into potential abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act came forward as the inquiry was winding down.
The individual, who is not part of the Justice Department or FBI, only did so after Attorney General William Barr tasked U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut to lead a review of the origins of the Russia investigation, according to Fox News. It is unclear whether this "breakthrough" was actually due to Barr's appointment.
The report did not identify the witness, but it follows reporting that British ex-spy Christopher Steele agreed a month ago to meet with inspector general Michael Horowitz's team. Steele's dossier, which contained salacious and unverified claims about President Trump's ties to Russia and was funded by Democrats, was used by the FBI obtain a series of FISA warrants to wiretap one-time Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Sources said fresh developments led to Horowitz to reinterview some witnesses.
New information was gleaned from these interviews and that was shared with Prosecutor John Durham and his team. That information, apparently, led to Durham expanding his investigation, according to several media sources:
Fox News’ Bret Baier reported on Tuesday in a Fox News exclusive that “based on what he has been finding, Durham has expanded his investigation adding agents and resources, the senior administration officials said. The timeline has grown from the beginning of the probe through the election and now has included a post-election timeline through the spring of 2017, up to when Robert Mueller was named special counsel.”
Two weeks later, on Wednesday, 25 October 2019, Barr's Justice Department leaked two critical developments:
1. The investigation of the roots of the plot to destroy Donald Trump and his Presidency is now a criminal matter.
2. Inspector General Horowitz announced that his report on the FISA fraud would be out shortly with no major redactions.
This was not a mere coincidence. Attorney General Barr was letting it be known that the Horowitz investigation was tied to Durham's criminal investigation. And the fact that it is a "criminal" matter means there is a Grand Jury. I want you to recall the criminal referrals from Devin Nunes.
And the big news today, which hardly anyone has mentioned, is that Donald Trump (who was briefed on the investigation a couple of weeks ago) singles out Barack Obama as the person who authorized the covert action against his Presidency:
DOOCY: Mr. President, you say it could be historic. You have suggested in the past that this might go much higher than the Department of Justice or the FBI during the Obama administration.Are you suggesting it could actually go up into the West Wing of the Obama administration?
TRUMP: Well, you're dealing at the highest levels of government. They were spying on my campaign. This is my opinion. I said it a long time ago. Remember when I put out a tweet and I talked about, they're wiretapping, in quotes, meeting, modern-day version of whatever wiretapping may be. And all hell broke loose. You know, who would have thought.
DOOCY: Well, how high did it go, Mr. President? How high did it go? Your opinion.
TRUMP: Well, I think — personally, I think it goes all the way, OK, because I think it's impossible.DOOCY: To Barack Obama?TRUMP: For Brennan, and for Clapper, and for all of these losers that you had over there, I think it's impossible for them to be doing things. And let's see what it all says
I think it is important to lower expectations about what the Horowitz report will accomplish. It is not an indictment. It is an audit. It will present findings of deficiencies without reaching conclusions about bias or motives of those who behaved illegally or incompetently. That is not Horowitz's job. But the report will provide criminal referrals, though that will not likely be specifically mentioned in the report. This is an important step in setting the stage for John Durham to press forward with the criminal investigation.
I want to remind you of Bill Barr's speech to the Federalist Society a week ago. He made a specific point about the plot to sabotage Donald Trump's Presidency:
Immediately after President Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called “The Resistance,” and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his Administration. Now, “resistance” is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power. It obviously connotes that the government is not legitimate. This is a very dangerous – indeed incendiary – notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic. What it means is that, instead of viewing themselves as the “loyal opposition,” as opposing parties have done in the past, they essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.
I believe that Bill Barr intentionally signaled that the sedition by the intelligence community, the FBI and the Department of Justice will not be allowed to slide. But he is going to do everything to punish them according to the law. He is committed to a rule of law and enforcing the laws of this country.
And then there is John Durham.
In the late 1990s, Durham was tapped by Bill Clinton’s justice department to investigate Boston police and FBI agents’ connections with infamous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger. That investigation ultimately identified corrupt law enforcement officials who had given the killer information he then used to kill informants and eventually became a part of the case that led to Bulger’s conviction.
Durham's investigation implicated Robert Mueller. According to knowledgeable sources, the Clinton Justice Department would not allow Durham to bring charges against Mueller:
In the 1980's, while Mr. Connolly was working with Whitey Bulger, Mr. Mueller was assistant United States attorney in Boston in charge of the criminal division and for a period was the acting United States attorney here, presiding over Mr. Connolly and Mr. Bulger as a ''top-echelon informant.'' Officials of the Massachusetts state police and the Boston Police Department had long wondered why their investigations of Mr. Bulger were always compromised before they could gather evidence against him, and they suspected that the F.B.I. was protecting him.
Law enforcement officials also have said they wondered why the United States attorney's office seemed to give Mr. Bulger impunity. But hearings by United States District Judge Mark Wolf in 1998 found that Mr. Connolly had not told his bosses in the United States attorney's office about his work with Mr. Bulger. In general, Judge Wolf found what he described as a culture of secrecy in the F.B.I.'s handling of its informants that sometimes subverted the purpose of the program.
I do not believe that Bill Barr is going to prevent John Durham from following the evidence and charging those culpable with crimes. I suspect that this fact is weighing heavily on Jim Comey, Andrew McCabe, John Brenna, Jim Clapper and others in the FBI, DOJ and intelligence community. We will know more in a month.
Media is now reporting according to their deep state leak of the IG report – surveillance was justified, but there were some process glitches.
Like to see how they flesh out that conclusion, but us outsiders will simply have to wait while the insiders take their victory laps.
We’ll find out come December 9th.
Is Clinesmith the patsy?
17 days for the Democrats to spin their conclusionary narrative, with no opposition. 17 days for America to deeply hate them.
NYT reports Horowitz concluded Joseph Mifsud “was not an FBI informant”. Are they parsing labels as a term of art?
Bill H says
The media is already spinning to debunk this report before it is even released. CBS News this evening described the report, unnamed but “scheduled to be released on Dec 9th,” as saying that “a few low level FBI personnel made mistakes in submissions to courts for warrants,” and that it “dispels rumors of bias by the FBI.”
blue peacock says
The most important outcome is transparency, where the public gets to see the breadth & depth of the activities including the collusion with the media to shape the narrative and the use of Congressional committees to further the narrative.
The public needs to be able to read about the entire plot and all the sub-plots and the cast of characters with the roles each played.
We need this to be able to comprehend the extent of violence to the rule of law by those entrusted with enforcement of the law and the operation of the nations’ intelligence agencies.
We can judge when Durham is done if Barr’s speech to the Federalist Society was just rhetorical or if he really meant it.
Diana C says
I did hear Barr’s definition of “The Resistance” and was so happy that someone finally explained how evil that idea is in our Democratic Republic. I was so sick of those smug people I have met who proudly proclaim their allegiance to “The Resistance,” as if they count themselves equal to the French Resistance in WWII against the Nazis.
My wish is that any of the “Resistance” who have made their living on tax-funded salaries are ripped out of those positions and placed in tax-funded prison cells. And this time, I would like it if they would be properly guarded so that they can’t escape their shame and punishment through what will be judged as suicide.
In fact, I might enjoy it if the Smithsonian’s National Zoo would add displays of the Resistors right next to any sort of display of venomous snakes.
(There, I’ve vented my frustration about how long this process for justice has taken and for the hours and hours of Adam Schiff on television screens. I am not usually a bitter person, but this whole episode has taken its toll on many of us who are just mere citizens and tax payers.)
Yes. Agree. Informing the public about the true scale of the operation would be very helpful.
That’s the acid question: What will Barr deliver?
Of course if he does that the propaganda organs will unleash their vitriol on him and claim he is Trump’s bag carrier. It’s not gonna change the minds of any NeverTrumper. It’s value will be a record for posterity.
It is worth pondering, what about Trump has got so many of the elites so riled up? After all he is one of them. Bill & Hillary attended his wedding to Melania. He has been photographed at parties with Epstein and moved in celebrity social circles. He’s been more zionist than others before him and he’s fed the MIC handsomely. He’s not reformed the surveillance state one iota. It remains at least as secretive and powerful as before. He’s allowed multinational US corporations to repatriate overseas profits to buyback stock that financially rewards the managerial class. He’s done nothing that attacks elite interests. Is it just that he beat them at their own game and their egos are bruised? In his first run for public office he wins the biggest prize by defeating the Bush dynasty and Senators and Governors long in Republican Party leadership and then the Most sure thing, the so entitled Clinton machine.
You see similar smear operations on Tulsi too. At least with her one can argue that she has never been a club member.
Paul Damascene says
Among the questions that Larry’s contribution begs here, is whether branches of this investigative trail lead back to Mueller himself. If we believe Durham will follow it to Whitey Bulger and Mueller’s potential involvement in enabling murder, then why not to Uranium One, and his role in the approval of the sale, the (non)investigation of the bags of cash changing hands, the contributions to the Clinton Foundation and the Bill Clinton speech in Moscow for $500,000.
And if there, then why not to Mueller’s role in the lead up, and follow up to 911?
I wonder that too Vegetius. Presuming the feds have enough evidence to convict — and presuming leaks are even true — surely he faces several years in prison for falsifying FISA documentation which resulted in materially changing the application for (in this case) FISA renewal. But is he willing to take one for the team by not implicating any of his superiors?
How likely is it that he was able to act as a lone wolf? Does anyone have any insight into the process?
Patrick Armstrong says
“what about Trump has got so many of the elites so riled up?”
I don’t think it’s that hard to figure out: he’s too orange, he’s too much of an outsider, he broke Hillary’s dream.
But the real crime was saying that the US should try to get along with Russia.
If he had never said the word “Russia” or “Putin” they’d still hate him but we’d be on the level of psychiatrists speculating that Twitter makes you crazy or something. And it would the the dims and their tame presstitutes saying that without the (powerful) back up of the deepstate/borg/blob
You can’t run much of an impeachment circus on POTUS’s choice of hair product, but Russia Russia Russia, that keeps going. He colluded with Putin; OK we can’t prove that but he wasn’t exonerated; he weakened brave little Ukraine in its fight against Putin. That’s all they’ve got.
another question might be WHY did the Dems (we know why the GOP might think the way they do) go all nuts on Russia. As short a time ago as Obama’s first term they were critical of Bush’s handling of Russia. Or, fumbling, of Russia, anyway. So Hillary wanted the ‘Russian reset’. She put a lot of US money into their Skolkovo Innovation Center, their hoped for Silicon Valley. She helped them with the uranium business too. We know Obama mocked Romney for concern re Russia as our ‘number one enemy’ or some such rot. We know Obama dismissed, in Oct 2016 concerns about the practical impact Russian meddling might have had on our election process. We know Obama did not want to provoke Russian with weapons to the Ukraine. We know Kerry and Obama were working with Russia to resolve issues with Iran. So, what happened? Where did the obsession come from that we now see glaringly exhibited by the Dems? Could it be that, whatever else we think about Putin, and there is a lot to dislike, there is no bigger foe of PC? Of woke, gay, values? Of Hollywood ‘cultural’? Of radical feminism? Could this be his crime/s? The last of Patriarchal Barons? If we don’t count China, and India, that is. But they get a pass….intersectionality puts them in colonial legacy victim category. Every bare chested, judo outfited, photo sends the PC crowd up the walls. And what is worse, in their eyes, is he seems to have followers in the West. LePen in France. Perhaps Johnson in the UK. The govt’s in Hungry and other Eastern European States. Is all this Putin’s greatest crime/s? I wonder…I wonder.
Brennan just stated “Ukraine did not interfere with the 2016 elections”.
That is not the issue, Brennan. Did Ukraine interfere with the CROWDSTRIKE investigation of the DNC computers to set up the ruse they were hacked by Russians, and not internally downloaded by perhaps Seth Rich from what we are learning here from LJ.
Nice technique, Brennan. Make an irrelevant statement simply to distract from the real issues at hand. Just like this entire “impeachment” charade – tons of media statements totally mistaking both the facts and the issues.
Democrats resort to gas-lighting as their only operating mode.
Will we get the same result as we finally got from the last Benghazi investigation- the government at all levels, including the top, was a pack of bungling incompetents; but not necessarily sinister or evil.
But so much damage was done to parties along the way even if the final conclusion is bungling incompetents were set loose – four dead American in Benghazi s; the Russiagate body count starting with Michael Flynn. Even non-sinister incompetents will leave a trail of destruction.
America wins in the long run if they get over this false conclusion – it is good for the “government” to be put in charge of everything, the more government power and control the better. Let’s just accept instead less government is the best way to go in this country.
Deep state – big government is really on trail – hey, we are not perfect and we do destroy lives but not intentionally. So be sure to let us run everything in your lives from cradle to grave. Deal?
The whole point of offering a very good government pension is for government workers to produce ethically and honestly during their career service so they can finally reap their rewards for exemplary service, but only after they retire.
If they screw up during their time of government service, they just sabotaged their own retirement pensions. Now it appears they can screw up and still get amply rewarded after they are gone. This is not a workable business plan.
I believe I read Huber is now doing a Clinton Foundation investigation – separate from the Barr-Durham ones.
Why did Barry Soetoro mock Mitt Romney in 2012 about his statement that Russia was Americas greatest enemy.
Barry quipped on live TV, the 1970’s want their foreign policy back, Mitt. Great guffaws all around. Then ….shazaam,…… Russians, Russians, Russians …. why indeed did the Democrats suddenly conclude they in fact were the Bogeymen of the Century.
Barbara Ann says
As the cases proceed and the patsy’s are lined up, the key question is who will be the first to decide that the only way to sustain themselves (stay out of jail) is to cannibalize other, more senior, members of the Resistance. Prosecution can then proceed up the food chain, as it were. Once the taboo is broken we’ll likely see many more cannibals.
English Outsider says
The Washington Examiner article linked to indicates that Horowitz is going into some detail.
But Mr Johnson’s article states “Lindsey Graham insists the report will be released on 9 December 2019.”
The 9th is just before a UK General Election. If the Horowitz report is released on that date it would be unlikely to go into full detail. Full detail would show that the previous Conservative UK administration was complicit in a smear campaign against an American President. The current Conservative administration would not welcome that disclosure in the last few critical days before the election.
It wouldn’t welcome it afterwards either. It’s also been suggested earlier on SST that the release of full detail at any stage by the US authorities would imperil the US/UK Intelligence relationship. It’s therefore unlikely that the full disclosure you mention above will occur.
Unless Trump is now going in for bare knuckle fighting and damn the consequences.
You may be absolutely correct about the root of their obsession and the neo-Red Scare jonst, but I wonder if maybe there’s a more cynical and less rational reason than that – that The Sore Losers of 2016 (both partisan Democrats and Establishment Republicans), by employing Russia-As-Archenemy tactics, are relying on and pandering to ignorant masses whose foreign policy opinions are mainly informed by spy novels and Hollywood films?
I’ve never witnessed so much angst about Russia before from my leftist friends as I have in the last 3 years. Some express [feigned?] fear of Russian world domination like some people express fear of Armageddon.
The release date of the Horowitz report intrigues me: Monday, December 9.
In Washington, if you want to bury a story, you release it on a Friday. So the intention is obviously not to bury it. Far from it.
Monday, December 9 is the beginning of the week that Democrats must decide whether to impeach or not. They must have their act together and have created a coherent, compelling narrative to promote it. December 12, Congress heads home for the holidays.
Prospects for House Democrats are not good. Frankly, they suck at messaging. Coherent and compelling are not part of their tool kit.
And so, along comes the Horowitz Report. Evidently, it has enough in it to throw a monkey wrench into Democrats’ plans. Most likely, the findings will be enough to drain some attention from the hearings at exactly the moment Democrats are hoping to close the deal with the American people. Worse for Democrats, it could raise concerns about who the real conspirators and crooks are.
I don’t know that anyone will be taking victory laps, but I do expect voters’ disillusion and disdain for swamp creatures to rise–a well deserved Christmas gift for all those creatures.