The Truth About the IG Report

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And an Inconvenient One

Now that I’ve had a few days to think about it, I’d like to weigh in on the recently released Justice Department’s IG Report regarding the opening of the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

First, I want to state that I did not read the entire Report. I did, however, read a substantial amount of it. Enough, in my opinion, to come to a few conclusions, that is.

The Most Important Truth

For years now, we’ve heard the President of the United States whine and stomp up and down that the whole thing was a witch hunt. That everyone was out to get him, and the deep state had it in for him from the very beginning.

Let me state unequivocally that the IG Report found no such outcome. They found NO evidence that political bias was the reason for beginning the investigation. Over one million documents and 100-plus witnesses and interviews showed no such thing.

What the Report did find, however, was that the origins of the investigation complied with the attorney general guidelines as it pertains to predication.

Predication, as per AG guidelines refers to allegations, reports, facts, or circumstances indicative of possible criminal activity or a national security threat, or the potential for acquiring information responsive to foreign intelligence collection requirements.

In other words, they had every reason to believe that someone may have been collaborating with the Russians from the Trump campaign. Initially, a tip from a friendly foreign government thought to be Australia, alerted U.S law enforcement that Trump campaign aid George Papadopoulos declared that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton and wanted to share it with the campaign.

Combining the Papadopoulos information with Wikileaks releasing of the hacked DNC emails provided more than enough reason for the FBI to begin an investigation, according to the Report.

What Trump and the right-wing would like you to believe is that the whole thing started due to the infamous Steele Dossier. Not accurate, even though the Dossier did provide some of the underlying evidence for the opening of the investigation—just not the single reason as they’ve continued to claim to this very day.

Much was also said about the political bias of FBI agent Peter Stzrok and agency lawyer Lisa Page. Somehow, because these two had a dislike for Trump, and they most certainly did, they must have been up to no good. Again, the Report found no such thing. The Report found that neither Page or Stzrok played any role in the substantive preparation or approval of any of the FISA applications concerning Carter Page.

Did they dislike Trump? Yes. Did they act in such a manner that it affected how they did their jobs? No. The Report even showed text messages from a couple of agents involved in the process that exhibited a pro-Trump bias. But did they do anything to hamper the investigation in any way? No, they did not.

We all have something in common with those FBI employees—we’re human, which means that we’re also allowed to have an opinion. Nothing says that you can’t have a political opinion and work for the FBI. If you let those views to affect your work, however, that’s another story entirely. That was not proven anywhere in this Report.

And Now An Inconvenient Truth

As a progressive, it’s easy to use right-wingers as poster children for bad behavior. After all, the leader of their party is Donald Trump, and he’s about to become the third president in history to be impeached.

But, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, we should always try to be fair. If there’s wrongdoing, no matter what or who may be responsible, we need to call it out once and for all. And let’s face it, much of this Report does not show the FBI in a good light—especially as it pertains to the FISA warrant and Carter Page.

It appears that some of the agents in charge did not adequately follow proper protocol in providing what could have been favorable information to him. Much of the information derived from the Steele Dossier and some of that information turned out not to be accurate.

Mr. Page worked for another agency within the U.S government, and that information was left out in the FISA application. As the IG Report pointed out, while there’s no way of knowing if the FISA court would have rejected the request to surveil Mr. Page, it also could not rule it out. The bottom line? They should have included the information.

The fact is, the FBI screwed up here. And Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department IG, minced no words when expressing his alarm. Mr. Horowitz provided several remedies and recommendations, and FBI Director Christopher Wray accepted the findings in totality–with implementation beginning already.

I have no reason to believe Mr. Horowitz is a bad actor here. He seems genuine and non-partisan, as does Mr. Wray. So when these guys seem to be on the same page, that’s a good thing for democracy. Wray himself has expressed grave misgivings over the FBI’s mishandling of these sensitive matters and has vowed to get it right.

Finally

In my view, we learned two things as it pertains to the Report. There was NO political bias as it related to the origins of the investigation; the FBI committed serious errors, especially concerning the FISA warrant and Carter Page.

That’s it, folks. We’ll continue to hear the Trump mantra that everyone’s out to get him. We can’t let them change the narrative to what the Report found.

We’ve already heard from Attorney General Bill Barr. He doesn’t like the results, so he’s going to try and dig up dirt to please his boss. When that fails, he’ll keep looking. If we thought the 2016 election was corrupt, we haven’t seen anything yet. This crowd will stop at nothing to get Trump reelected in 2020.

Let’s never forget, though, that the facts are on our side. Facts, for the party of Trump? Never mind.

20 comments

  1. Thanks for that summary.

    Yes, the FBI took some short cuts to expedite things. I expect that they, and other police agencies, always do that. And this is pretty normal human behavior, though it can look bad on paper when scrutinized afterwards.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    All week, I have been planning to do a post on the IG report, but obviously hadn’t gotten it done yet. I am eternally grateful to Jeff over at On the Fence Voters for stepping up to the plate and doing such an excellent summation of the report — both pros and cons. Thank you, Jeff, for doing such a great job on this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jill..and for the reblog as well! Yeah, there are two stories here. But, as you and I know, the most important one is they found no ridiculous ‘deep state’ conspiracy. We knew it. And, he’ll keep trying to find it whenever he can…lying and scheming all the way to Nov 2020….Lord how I wish he was gone before then!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am not kidding when I say you saved the day with this post, for I was so unmotivated and uninspired that I was finding I simply could not write. Earlier that day, I had muttered under my breath, “Jeff, it’s time you write a post so I can re-blog it”, and like magic, there was your post! And a great one, as always. I had been struggling to read the IG report … like you, I read a substantial amount, and was disappointed by some of what I was reading, but still … the overall picture is that there was no ‘witch hunt’. Of course, just as with the Mueller report, Trump & Barr are twisting the facts. I hear he’s threatening Comey with “years and years in prison”. 🙄 Same ol’ song, just a different victim. I wish he was gone before then, too, but … unless there are 20 republican senators with integrity, which there obviously are not, then it ain’t gonna happen. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My pleasure Jill!
        Yeah, tough to read 400 pages isn’t it? LOL….I didn’t read all of it. No way. But you and I know the most important part. NO witch hunt! Of course, you’re on Twitter so you know that’s not the cult45 take on the whole thing. But, who gives a crap what they think anyway?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh yes, they will interpret it as they wish, they will see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear, just as they did with the Mueller report. But, we know the truth … we’ve known it since day #1. Sigh. You and I don’t care what they think, but … we must remember that there are a lot of rather feeble minds out there that will be easily misled by what Trump & Co say, for they will not bother to seek out facts, nor to read the report themselves. I think that ignorance may well be our worst enemy!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes….the ‘low information’ voters. That’s a polite term for….well…I won’t go there. It’s the holidays! But you get the point Jill.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Respectfully, your reading of Horowitz’s report borders on tragic comedy. Horowitz referred the “entire chain of command” for DOJ review up to and including criminal prosecution. Horowitz testified that “nobody who touched this FISA process should feel vindicated.” Horowitz also documented nearly 9mos of lies to the FISC *after* the FBI case had “fallen apart” in January 2017, including the doctoring of emails, and willful exclusion of mountains of exculpatory evidence, dozens of errors across 3 different teams that had “no credible explanation”.

    THOSE ARE THE “FACTS”.

    Your effort to sort a 500 page report into topline conclusions when you admit you HAVEN’T EVEN READ THE REPORT is charming. You offer us your insights on “The Most Important Truth” versus what you call “Inconvenient Truth”… as if Truth can be ranked? If you’re chasing political outcomes, anything goes I suppose…

    The FBI illegally double-crossed a known CIA asset, doctored evidence, and lied to the FISC repeatedly for an entire year to surveil an innocent citizen, who was actually closer to something of an American Hero (see Carter’s background). Of course, the collateral damage in the War on Trump means nothing to you. Right?

    Let’s hope you’re never on the wrong side of the looking glass.

    Like

    1. Guess what? Here are your facts: The Trump campaign had multiple….multiple contacts with Russians.
      Here’s another one: WikiLeaks released the hacked emails, which was done by RUSSIA…not Ukraine.
      Here’s another one: George Papadopulous was the originator of why the FBI started this whole thing…not Carter Page.
      Here’s another one: Paul Manafort shared polling information with a guy with ties to Putin.
      Here’s the bottom line my friend: the FBI had plenty of reasons to be looking into the Trump campaign. I said in my post that mistakes were made as it pertained to Page. It doesn’t hide the underlying premise as to why they were deeply concerned about the contacts with Russians.
      Now perhaps, these are all inconvenient truths to you and the rest of the Trump crowd? Can you also explain to me why this president has continually sided with the brutal/murderous dictator Putin over our intelligence agencies? Can you explain why, in Helsinki, he took Putin at his word, in one of the most embarrassing displays of presidential leadership…ever?
      If you ever stop drinking the Trump kool-aid, I’d be glad to have a serious discussion with you. But thanks for reading the post, nevertheless.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Political animus drips from virtually every sentence you write. Meanwhile I’m an Independent voter who’s not even talking about Trump, or politics. Just facts, and the law….

        FACTS: Contacts are not collusion, and collusion isn’t even illegal. Wikileaks has nothing to do with Trump campaign and Kim DotCom predicted Wikileaks “nightmare” for HRC back in 2015 before Trump even announced his candidacy, see Bloomberg May 14, 2015. Not one single Mueller indictment on Trump associates had anything to do with Russia or Russians. Papadopulous & Manafort included!

        LAW: You keep focusing on “predication” to open an investigation and what you call “reasons to be worried”. What you studiously IGNORE is that for 18mos as Horowitz has DOCUMENTED, said investigation took in nothing but exculpatory evidence that was SYSTEMATICALLY ignored AND HIDDEN from courts. An entire YEAR of a conspiracy to legally defraud the court.

        You can continue to whine to your audience about Trump and Putin, Helenski, and all kind of other nonsense that is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. Your post was SUPPOSED to be about the OIG Report, which concerns “FOUR FISA APPLICATIONS”… You never even read the damn thing, admittedly, and it shows.

        Like

      2. Based on DOJ guidelines, the IG found that the origins of the investigation were in compliance. Am I wrong, or was the report in some other language I do not understand? That, was the basis of my post. The FISA application process had serious issues. Did I not say that? He gave recommendations. The FBI Director agreed with them.
        As for Mueller, you’re right, he did not find a conspiracy between the campaign and Russians. Collusion is NOT illegal. Conspiracy is. But what you fail to include is the fact that Mueller also stated many of the people under investigation did NOT cooperate. They used encrypted emails, gave incomplete answers etc…including, I might add, the president of the United States himself. He tried for a year to get him to come testify. In the end, he let him give written answers, which were vague, misleading, and incomplete. I don’t recall…I can’t remember…Is that cooperation?
        By the way, I did read the Mueller Report. All of it. Did you? Mueller also said that if he could have exonerated Trump, they would have stated so. He did not. And, he also could not rule out a different conclusion, if those who testified had been more forthright. Those again, are THE facts.
        I stand by my IG Report post. I respectfully disagree with your assessment, as I do with your cavalier attitude towards contacts between Russians and campaign.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If you cared about “contacts between Russians and campaign” you’d care about the direct financial link from DNC to Perkins Coie to Fusion GPS to Christopher Steele to Primary Sub-source WHO WAS RUSSIAN. In short: the DNC paying for Russian disinformation fed into our FBI courtesy of a British agent, all funded by DNC for Hillary.

        Collusion, cooperation, and exoneration are not legal terms, so I care nothing about them. And Mueller is a legal FRAUD for invoking the term.

        There are 2 principal problems with your focus on predication or origins of the case.

        1) It’s a singular moment in time, the beginning, as contrasted against 18 or more months of investigation afterwards which produced NOTHING BUT EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE which was hidden from the courts for over one year. Just because an investigation was opened correctly, doesn’t infer the entire investigation was conducted properly.

        2) Although I don’t disagree with Horowitz’s conclusions regarding predication for investigation, the fact remains that his jurisdiction is limited and he was not able to interview subjects like Joseph Mifsud, nor interview employee’s from other agencies like CIA. This is especially notable considering both Barr and Durham’s public repudiations of Horowitz’s conclusions on this very issue. BOTH men have superior jurisdiction and knowledge of facts outside of Horowitz’s scope. It’s no wonder their conclusions might differ especially if elements of foreign intelligence agencies are suspected to have played a role.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. My friend, I do appreciate your opinions and you are certainly well-versed in the Fusion GPS/Democrats paying for it mantra. I’m just not going down that road. I do realize that it’s still a hot topic within the right-wing media apparatus.
        There’s not much more to add. We differ in our interpretations as it pertains to the Mueller Report and the FISA/Horowitz investigation. Am I partisan? You bet. You say you’re an Independent. I take you at your word, although some of the things you say are not much different that what I’ve heard or read on Fox News or Breitbart. I don’t know what you would consider ‘independent’ media, but those outlets certainly do not belong in that category.
        Good luck, and thanks for the back and forth.

        Liked by 1 person

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