The long awaited DOJ Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s applications to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is now finished and is currently undergoing the declassification process. It is expected to be released sometime this month. Unlike the IG’s recent report on James Comey’s interactions with President Trump which accused Comey of breaking FBI rules and policies, this report will focus on violations of the law. It will answer the question we all want answered. Did James Comey’s FBI acquire warrants to spy on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page illegally? If the recent buzz is correct, the report concludes that all four warrants were obtained illegally.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) appeared on “Hannity” on Monday night and said he expects the report to find that the FBI actions were illegal. Jordan is the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee and a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Fox News‘ Gregg Jarrett said he “absolutely” agreed.
On Monday, Washington lawyer and former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova told Washington’s WMAL that, “I can report categorically that the inspector general has found that all four FISA warrants were illegal. They were based on false information supplied to the FISA Court. And Michael Horowitz has concluded that all four FISA warrants were illegal.”
DiGenova participated in the Washington Examiner‘s Examining Politics podcast just after the IG’s report on Comey’s conduct was released. He told the panel the IG’s report on FISA abuse is “being circulated inside and outside of the department for comment by interested parties.”
Perhaps that’s why Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has doubled down on his efforts to impeach Trump this week. It sounds as if a large number of Washington insiders are privy to the results of the report.
If Nadler is aware of how damning its findings are for Democrats, he may want to act before it is released. Ahead of the Mueller report, which he knew would be a disappointment for the left, he and other Democratic committee leaders launched a blitz of investigations into the President.
The IG’s report was originally expected to be released in June. There was a reason for the delay. At the last minute, several “reluctant witnesses” agreed to be questioned by the IG’s team, one of whom was Kathleen Kavalec, who was the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the time. Another witness was Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier.
Back in May, the Hill’s John Solomon broke the bombshell story of an October 2016 meeting between Kavalec and Steele. During this exchange, Steele told Kavalec that his client was “keen” to break the story before election day. (I wrote about this here. Solomon’s articles can be viewed here and here.)
Ten days before the FBI applied to the FISA Court for their first warrant to spy on Trump advisor Carter Page, Kavalec made two important discoveries. First, she realized that some of the material in the dossier Steele had prepared for the FBI and the Clinton campaign was inaccurate. After a brief meeting with Steele, Kavalec was instantly aware of Steele’s agenda and she was alarmed. She prepared a memo from her meeting notes and sent it to the appropriate officials at the FBI. The memo said that Steele had told her, “Payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian Consulate in Miami.” She then wrote, “It is important to note that there is no Russian consulate in Miami.” Kavalec also said that Steele admitted his work was political.
Also in May, Citizens United had obtained copies of Kavalec’s memo, through a FOIA request. The documents were immediately forwarded to the DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz who had not been aware that they even existed.
Citizens United learned that the memo and related documents had been retroactively labeled as classified by the FBI. They were heavily redacted. Kavalec sent the email to the FBI on October 13, 2016.
At the time, DiGenova had appeared on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” and made an extraordinary claim. He said the DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, has “concluded that the final three FISA extensions were illegally obtained.”
He added, “The only question now is whether or not the first FISA warrant was illegally obtained…As a result of those disclosures from John Solomon today, which he was unaware of, the Bureau hid those memos from Horowitz. As a result of that, they are doing some additional work on the first FISA. It may be that all four FISAs will have been obtained illegally.”
Let’s hope DiGenova is right.