Watchdog Probe Into Surveillance of Trump Campaign to Wrap Up by May or June

By Ivan Pentchoukov

The Department of Justice inspector general will complete his investigation into potential surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign by May or June, according to Attorney General William Barr.

Barr revealed the expected release of the watchdog report in testimony to lawmakers during a House budget hearing on April 9. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) asked the attorney general how it came to be that a “salacious and unverified dossier” was used to spy on an American citizen.

Aderholt was referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant the FBI used to surveil former Trump campaign associate Carter Page over the course of a year. The bureau used the then-unverified and now-debunked Steele dossier funded by the Clinton campaign as the rationale for the warrant.

“The office of the inspector general has a pending investigation of the FISA process in the Russian investigation and I expect that to be completed probably in May or June, I am told,” Barr responded. “So hopefully we’ll have some answers from Inspector General Horowitz on the issue of the FISA warrants.”

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been investigating the use of the (FISA) warrants in the Russia investigation since March last year. In addition to using shoddy and politicized evidence, the bureau’s process for obtaining the warrants was riddled with abnormalities.

Barr also revealed that he himself is looking into the conduct of officials who worked the Russia investigation, most of whom have either been fired or left the bureau.

“More generally, I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016,” Barr said.

The attorney general said he has not received the criminal investigation referrals from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) that the lawmaker mentioned earlier in the week. Nunes said he plans to refer eight people for criminal investigation for conspiring to lie to the FISA court and Congress.

“I haven’t seen the referrals yet from Congressman Nunes, but obviously if there is a predicate for an investigation it will be conducted,” Barr said.

Democrats on the committee pressed Barr for more information on the final report by special counsel Robert Mueller. The special counsel took over the Russia investigation from the FBI in May 2017.

Barr said the mid-April deadline for releasing the report still stands. The attorney general said the redactions in the report will be color-coded to indicate which rationale was used to withhold the information.

Barr also dismissed accusations that he was hasty to release the March 24 letter outlining the conclusions of the report. He told lawmakers he met with Mueller on March 4 for a preliminary discussion of the report and that Mueller’s thinking was not a mystery to people he interfaced with at the Justice Department, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The Department of Justice offered Mueller to review the March 24 letter, but the special counsel declined, according to Barr.

Mueller concluded that neither Trump nor anyone in his campaign colluded with Russia. Mueller also summarized the reasoning for and against bringing an obstruction charge against Trump. Barr concluded there was not enough evidence to take the case to court.

From The Epoch Times