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Archive for December, 2019

Trump Called the FBI ‘Scum,’ Doubled Down on Debunked Conspiracy Theories at Pennsylvania Rally

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued to lash out at the FBI at a rally in Hershey, Pa., on Tuesday night, calling bureau leaders “scum” and doubling down on his claims of a debunked “deep state” conspiracy.

Trump’s diatribe came one day after the Justice Department’s inspector general report concluded the bureau didn’t improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign, nor did it act with bias.

Trump spoke to a boisterous crowd, trying to discredit the report.

“The FBI also sent multiple undercover human spies to surveil and record people associated with our campaign.” Trump said. “Look how they’ve hurt people. They’ve destroyed the lives of people that were great people. That are still great people. Their lives have been destroyed by scum, OK? By scum.”

After the report’s release, Trump also dumped on his FBI director, Christopher Wray, for agreeing with the report’s conclusion that the bureau didn’t act improperly, despite making missteps.

“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”

Former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Sues DOJ, FBI for Publicly Releasing E-Mails

Lisa Page, via social media.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the bureau and Justice Department for publicly disclosing text messages between her and another FBI employee with whom she was having an affair.

Page argues the release of the text messages violates the Privacy Act, which prohibits the disclosure of individuals’ information without their consent, CBS News reports.

The messages between Page and Strzok, who were having an affair, were used by President Trump and Republicans to argue the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was politically driven. The pair had worked on the investigation and exchanged disparaging messages about Trump during the election.

The messages were released to the media in December 2017.

In the lawsuit, Page says she was subjected to harassment by Trump and the White House “in more than 40 tweets and dozens of interviews, press conferences, and statements.”

Page broke her silence in a wide-ranging interview published by the Daily Beast on Dec. 1.

“I sued the Department of Justice and FBI today,” Page tweeted Tuesday. “I take little joy in having done so. But what they did in leaking my messages to the press was not only wrong, it was illegal.”

Comey Says IG Report Vindicated Him And Dispelled Trump’s Conspiracy Theories

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey said Monday that the Inspector General’s report on Trump’s campaign and Russian meddling vindicated him and the bureau.

IG Michael Horowitz’s report concluded that the FBI’s investigation was justified and unbiased, albeit plagued with a series of missteps. The report also found that the FBI did not improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign.

“There was no illegal wiretapping, there were no informants inserted into the campaign, there was no “spying” on the Trump campaign,” Comey wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post, adding, “the truth is finally out.”

“The allegation of a criminal conspiracy was nonsense,” he wrote.

On Twitter, Comey said Fox News canceled a planned interview with him.

“I offered to go on Fox & Friends to answer all questions. I can’t change their viewers on Donald Trump but hoped to give them some actual facts about the FBI,” Comey tweeted. “They booked me for tomorrow at 8 am. They just cancelled. Must have read the report.”

Trump Distorts IG’s Conclusions And Then Blasts FBI Director Wray for Backing Report

FBI Director Christopher Wray and John Glover. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump ripped into FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday morning, presumably for backing the inspector general’s conclusion that the bureau didn’t improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign.

“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Trump tweeted. “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”

Trump’s criticism is as baffling as it is predictable. Inspector General Michael Horowitz clearly contradicted Trump’s conspiracy theory that his campaign was subjected to “a major SPY scandal,” as he tweeted in May 2018.

Horowitz’s report concluded that the FBI’s investigation was justified and unbiased, albeit plagued with a series of missteps. The report also found that the FBI did not improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign.

Wray issued a lengthy response to the repot, saying he fully accepts the “findings and embraces the need for thoughtful, meaningful remedial action.”

Trump’s attempts to distort the report’s findings didn’t sway many on Twitter.

FBI Director Christopher Wray’s Response to IG Report on Trump-Russia Probe

Director Christopher Wray provided the following letter to the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General in response to the report titled “Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation,” released today. 

December 6, 2019

The Honorable Michael Horowitz
Inspector General
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Inspector General Horowitz:

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Report titled, “Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation” (Report).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) appreciates the OIG’s crucial independent oversight role and the thoroughness and professionalism your office brought to this work. The Report’s findings and recommendations represent constructive criticism that will make us stronger as an organization. We also appreciate the Report’s recognition that the FBI cooperated fully with this review and provided broad and timely access to all information requested by the OIG, including highly classified and sensitive material involving national security.

The Report concludes that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and related investigations of certain individuals were opened in 2016 for an authorized purpose and with adequate factual predication. The Report also details instances in which certain FBI personnel, at times during the 2016-2017 period reviewed by the OIG, did not comply with existing policies, neglected to exercise appropriate diligence, or otherwise failed to meet the standard of conduct that the FBI expects of its employees — and that our country expects of the FBI. We are vested with significant authorities, and it is our obligation as public servants to ensure that these authorities are exercised with objectivity and integrity. Anything less falls short of the FBI’s duty to the American people.

Accordingly, the FBI accepts the Report’s findings and embraces the need for thoughtful, meaningful remedial action. I have ordered more than 40 corrective steps to address the Report’s recommendations. Because our credibility and brand are central to fulfilling our mission, we are also making improvements beyond those recommended by the OIG. And where certain individuals have been referred by the OIG for review of their conduct, the FBI will not hesitate to take appropriate disciplinary action if warranted at the completion of the required procedures for disciplinary review.

Below is a summary of the actions we are taking, which we describe in more detail in the attachment to this letter.

Read more »

IG Report Says FBI Had ‘Authorized Purpose’ to Probe Trump Campaign, But Did Some Things Wrong

IG Michael Horowitz, via DoJ.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department inspector general’s report dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign — including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers. At the same time, the report that examined the FBI’s probe into connections between Trump campaign advisers and Russia found  serious faults in other areas, the Washington Post reports.

The 434-page report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found the FBI had an “authorized purpose” in investigating the campaign. But it went on say that applications the FBI made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Michael R. Bromwich, a lawyer for fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, noted the inspector general “found an ample factual basis for the launching of the Russia investigation,” and that those errors that were documented “took place at multiple layers below” McCabe, the Post reports.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the inspector general had “completely demolished” some of conservatives’ assertions about the origins of the probe, though his investigators did find some problems.

The ACLU weighed in, issuing a statement:

“When the Justice Department’s Inspector General finds significant concerns regarding flawed surveillance applications concerning the president’s campaign advisors, it is clear that this regime lacks basic safeguards and is in need of serious reform. While the report found that there wasn’t an improper purpose or initiation of the investigation, it also found significant problems that are alarming from a civil liberties perspective. For instance, the litany of problems with the Carter Page surveillance applications demonstrates how the secrecy shrouding the government’s one-sided FISA approval process breeds abuse. The concerns the Inspector General identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims, and far better safeguards against abuse are necessary.”

“The system requires fundamental reforms, and Congress can start by providing defendants subjected to FISA surveillance the opportunity to review the government’s secret submissions. The FBI must also adopt higher standards for investigations involving constitutionally protected sensitive activities, such as political campaigns.”

 

Read report

Trump Taps Secret Service Official As New Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump tapped Anthony Ornato, deputy assistant director of the Secret Service, as his new deputy chief of staff for operations.

Trump announced the move on Twitter on Saturday, saying Ornato “will do a fantastic job!”

Ornato will replace Daniel Walsh, who is leaving the post to take a job in the private sector.

“Thank you to Dan Walsh for his great service, and congratulations to Tony!” Trump tweeted.

Ornato will serve as one of the three deputies to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

DOJ Watchdog Report Set for Release Today, Dismisses Trump’s Claims of FBI Spying

IG Michael Horowitz, via DoJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog is set to announce today that top FBI and DOJ officials did not illegally spy on Trump’s campaign in 2016, delivering a blow to one of the president’s most repeated and unfounded conspiracy theories.

The report examined the investigation into possible coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia and found that the FBI had sufficient evidence to open the probe ahead of the 2016 election, according to several media accounts.

Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general, concluded that the FBI did not improperly launch the investigation, dismissing Trump’s wild claims that the bureau turned rogue in an effort to smear his campaign.

The report, however, is expected to document mistakes by some FBI and DOJ officials. But none of the missteps changed the course of the investigation, the report is to conclude.

Nevertheless, Trump likely will seize on the missteps to bolster his unproven claims.