Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to find that political bias did not taint top officials running the FBI investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016, while criticizing the bureau for systemic failures in handling surveillance applications, the Washington Post reports. The report due Dec. 9 will allege that an FBI lawyer inappropriately altered a document that was used to renew a controversial warrant for electronic surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser. The inspector general referred that finding to U.S. Attorney John Durham, and the lawyer is being investigated criminally for making a false statement.
Horowitz will conclude that the application still had a proper legal and factual basis, and, that FBI officials acted properly in opening the Russia investigation. The report rebuts accusations of a political conspiracy among senior law enforcement officials against the Trump campaign to favor Democrat Hillary Clinton while also citing FBI procedural shortcomings. On balance, it provides a mixed assessment of the Justice Department’s undertaking of a probe that became highly politicized. “Warring factions will seize on the various parts of this to advance their respective narratives,” said a person familiar with the inspector general’s investigation. That report focused on the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, and the inspector general found “no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias.” The most damaging findings seem directed at low-level FBI employees. In renewing a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, an agent asked FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith whether Clinesmith could document a claim. Clinesmith said he could with an email from another agency. Before providing that email to the FBI agent, Clinesmith added text to it.