There are rumors in Washington that, barring any last-minute changes, the much-anticipated report on the FBI from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will be released on Thursday. Observers expect that upon release, Americans will learn a great deal about how the Obama administration at the highest level handled investigations into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.
In a letter last week to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, Horowitz said the report's release is on schedule and the "review and classification" process is being completed, in compliance with “ordinary processes for the review and classifications of such reports.” President Donald Trump will receive a briefing on the report just hours before its public release. The president has complained in the past about how long it has taken to publish the report.
Critics have asserted that U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is part of the reason why the report has been delayed. Some critics also fear that the "review and classification" process mentioned by Horowitz will mean that the IG's office will redact much of the report that embarasses DOJ, FBI and the Obama administration.
On Tuesday, Trump signalled his frustration over the delay in the report. “What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey. Numerous delays,” the president tweeted Tuesday. “Hope Report is not being changed and made weaker! There are so many horrible things to tell, the public has the right to know. Transparency!”
For his part, Horowitz is set to appear before Congress on June 18 to provide testimony about his findings. Members of Congress are expected to ask about the involvement of former FBI Director James B. Comey and former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in the handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for classified communications during her stint as Secretary of State.
The report is expected to chastise former FBI director Comey, and former AG Lynch, for their conduct in the investigation. Comey expected to be criticized for ignoring the Justice Department’s objections to a letter he sent to Congress announcing the FBI had reopened the Clinton probe just days before the 2016 election. Comey is also exposed for his alleged failure to notify Lynch before his July 5, 2016, press conference in which he exonerated Clinton, according to the ABC News report.
In an April interview with George Stephanopoulos of CBS, Comey claimed that even if he did help Trump’s political prospects. “I’m not trying to help a candidate or hurt a candidate; I’m trying to do the right thing,” he said.
Lynch, according to media reports, will also face criticism from Horowitz. She may be criticized for meeting with former President Bill Clinton inside a plane on a tarmac in Arizona while the email probe was ongoing. Even after questions arose about the appropriateness of the meeting, and whether the former president had improperly tried to influence the investigation into his wife, Lynch refused to recuse herself. Instead, she accepted the FBI’s recommendations.
However, Horowitz’s report will not cover potential abuses by the FBI and DOJ of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allowed the Obama administration to seek warrants to snoop on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Reportedly, the FBI may have relied on the salacious anti-Trump dossier funded by Democrats and the Clinton campaign to secure the warrant.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.