Why The IG Report On FISA Abuse Will Unleash Barr’s Investigation Of Spygate By Margot Cleveland for The Federalist
The forthcoming report from the Office of Inspector General on potential Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse will finally unleash Attorney General William Barr, and when it does, watch out.
For the last month, conservative pundits have predicted the ever-imminent dropping of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on his investigation into the circumstances surrounding FISA surveillance of former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Horowitz’s report will likely provide new and damaging details surrounding the FBI’s use of the FISA court to spy on Page. More importantly, the conclusion of Horowitz’s probe frees Barr to conduct a broader and more exacting investigation into all aspects of the Russia collusion hoax.
Barr revealed this during his interview last week with “CBS This Morning’s” Jan Crawford. In his hour-long interview, Barr made several points clear. First, Barr confirmed that Horowitz’s investigation focused on a discrete aspect of the Russia collusion investigation—the electronic surveillance of Page. (Barr had previously stated that he anticipated receiving Horowitz’s conclusions concerning the propriety of the FISA process targeting Page in May or June, which makes the fevered predictions that Barr already had the IG report less impressive.)
Second, Barr explained that the norm for the Department of Justice was for investigations to be put “on hold while the Office of Inspector General conduct[s] its review.” Barr had suggested the same in his testimony last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
During that hearing on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Barr praised FBI Director Christopher Wray and the FBI line agents, stressing that the potential overreach involved “a few people in the upper echelons of the Bureau and the Department [of Justice].” Those people are gone now, Barr noted, before adding that he was now working closely with Wray “trying to reconstruct exactly what went down.” But “one thing that people should know,” the attorney general stressed, was “that the bureau itself has been handicapped looking back because of the OIG investigation.”
At the time of his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was unclear what Barr meant by saying the FBI had been “handicapped” by the OIG’s investigation. But his comments to Crawford last week brought some clarity to his testimony: The DOJ does not proceed with investigations while the OIG is investigating the same matter.