Phase I of the Inspector General’s Reports should be released within days.
Chairman @ChuckGrassley: @SenJudiciary Committee to hold hearing entitled: “Examining the Inspector General’s First Report on @TheJusticeDept Decisions Regarding the 2016 Presidential Election” on Tuesday, June 5 at 10:00 a.m.
— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) May 29, 2018
Friday or Monday would seem likely dates. On May 16th, Inspector General Horowitz sent final draft reports out for review by top officials at the Justice Department & FBI – and lawyers of those named in the IG Report.
From Horowitz’s letter to Congress – obtained by CNN:
We will update you on the specific timing for the report’s release, and I will be prepared to provide a briefing and testify publicly about our findings and conclusions as soon as the report is released.
This would imply the IG Report will be released no later than the morning of June 5, 2018 – but likely sooner.
It’s important to bear in mind what will be covered. The pending Inspector General Report will pertain to events undertaken in the Clinton Email Investigation – along with actions by the DOJ & FBI in advance of the 2016 Election.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review of allegations regarding certain actions by the Department of Justice (Department) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in advance of the 2016 election.
On April 13, 2018, Inspector General Horowitz provided additional clarity on the matter through a cover letter to Senator Grassley (pdf here). The letter contains the OIG Report on Andrew McCabe:
I am writing in response to your letter dated March 21, 2018, in which you request information about the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) review of actions by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) prior to the 2016 election.
As a result of potentially important additional information and documents that recently came to our attention, and the interviews they have required us to conduct, my expectation is that we will issue our report in May, absent any additional new developments.
The OIG’s misconduct investigation of Mr. McCabe did not originate as part of the OIG’s election-related review.
In Footnote 1 is where we find the full clarification:
The election-related review that is the subject of our forthcoming report is separate from the review that the OIG initiated in March 2018 of the Department’s [DOJ] and the FBI’s compliance with laws, policies and procedures in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court relating to a certain U.S. person.
The Inspector General has made a series of announcements regarding his investigations.
The January 12, 2017 Initiation of Review from the Office of Inspector General laid out the initial framework of his pending Investigation:
DOJ OIG Announces Initiation of Review
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today that, in response to requests from numerous Chairmen and Ranking Members of Congressional oversight committees, various organizations, and members of the public, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review of allegations regarding certain actions by the Department of Justice (Department) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in advance of the 2016 election. Cognizant of the scope of the OIG’s jurisdiction under Section 8E of the Inspector General Act, the review will examine the following issues:
- Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director’s public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations;
- Allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters;
- Allegations that the Department’s Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs improperly disclosed non-public information to the Clinton campaign and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters;
- Allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information; and
- Allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations.
The review will not substitute the OIG’s judgment for the judgments made by the FBI or the Department regarding the substantive merits of investigative or prosecutive decisions. Finally, if circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.
The OIG announcement makes clear the Inspector General can look at anything (and everything) he deems worthy of investigation. This initial IG Announcement was overlooked by virtually everyone. Forgotten until events on December 2, 2017.
Here’s the December 2, 2017 Clarification Statement made by the Inspector General:
The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released the following statement in response to inquiries today:
The January 2017 statement issued by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announcing its review of allegations regarding various actions of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in advance of the 2016 election stated that the OIG review would, among other things, consider whether certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations and that we also would include issues that might arise during the course of the review. The OIG has been reviewing allegations involving communications between certain individuals, and will report its findings regarding those allegations promptly upon completion of the review of them.
This statement was prompted by breaking news on FBI Agent Peter Strzok – news that likely originated from Outside Prosecutor John Huber.
It was at this time the world became aware of what the Inspector General had already been doing – for nearly a full year. Note: At this point, Outside Prosecutor John Huber had already been in place for at least a month – probably longer.
On March 28, 2018, the Inspector General added another investigation to his docket through a third release:
Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today that, in response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person. As part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source. Additionally, the OIG will review the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications.
If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.
The certain U.S. person is Carter Page. The alleged FBI confidential source should be Stefan Halper. As such, you can see the investigative segmentation.
A point of clarity is needed. The Inspector General did not begin his investigation into FISA Abuse on March 28, 2018.
The Inspector General already had the information and evidence. It’s the manner of dissemination and disclosure that’s being revealed.
This is how I loosely view the Inspector General’s series of Investigations:
- Preamble – The McCabe Report
- Phase I – The Clinton Email Investigation and certain Election events.
- Phase II – Carter Page FISA Application. Includes Stefan Halper’s actions.
- Phase III – Russia-Trump Investigation & Russia Narrative.
Segments and findings will bleed from one phase to other but this provides a simple framework of the Inspector General’s approach.
It’s equally possible Phase II & III are blended into one final IG Report.
Recall the IG Report on Andrew McCabe. The report was thorough, and even provided us breadcrumbs regarding Loretta Lynch’s interference in the EDNY and New York FBI’s Investigation into the Weiner laptop/Clinton Investigation. For an overview see this article by Sundance.
But the Inspector General stopped short of covering all of McCabe’s violations. Horowitz’s McCabe Report stated upfront exactly what he was addressing:
This misconduct report addresses the accuracy of statements made by then-Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Inspection Division (INSD) and the Department of Justice (Department or DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) concerning the disclosure of certain law enforcement sensitive information to reporter Devlin Barrett that was published online in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on October 30, 2016, in an article entitled “FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe.” A print version of the article was published in the WSJ on Monday, October 31, 2016, in an article entitled “FBI, Justice Feud in Clinton Probe.”
In addition to addressing whether McCabe lacked candor, the OIG’s misconduct investigation addressed whether any FBI or Department of Justice policies were violated in disclosing non-public FBI information to the WSJ.
McCabe will likely be featured prominently, along with Comey in the pending Inspector General’s Report.
I expect the IG’s Report to be detailed and damning. Importantly, it won’t be the last word. There will be at least one more Inspector General Report forthcoming – perhaps two.
In the meantime, keep a close eye on these sources of information:
Twitter account @JusticeOIG – Office of the Inspector General – DOJ
Companion website Office of the Inspector General – Justice.
Twitter account @OversightGov – All Federal Inspector General Reports.
Companion website Oversight.gov – All Federal Inspector General Reports.
Oversight.gov/reports – Data repository for Inspector General Reports.
Oversight.gov/investigations – Data repository for Inspector General Investigations.
For those concerned over the Inspector General’s character and integrity, I encourage you to read An Introduction to Inspector General Horowitz.
Other useful posts:
- The Inspector General’s Quiet Investigation
- The Inspector General’s Implied Oversight
- Understanding the Inspector General’s Investigation
- Why AG Sessions Chose Outside Prosecutors Over a Special Counsel
- A Preamble to What’s Coming – The Inspector General’s Report on Andrew McCabe
newer post A Partial Surveillance Timeline