The Inspector General of the Department of Justice announced yesterday that he will investigate potential abuse of the FISA process by the FBI in connection with its surveillance of Carter Page, and perhaps more broadly of the Trump presidential campaign:
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 “alleged source” is Christopher Steele. The quality of the Inspector General’s multiple investigations remains to be seen. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a month ago that he would ask the IG to look into the FISA scandal, which prompted this response by President Trump:
Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
Trump’s observations are, I think, well taken.
In related news, the House Judiciary Committee has finally subpoenaed approximately 1.2 million documents that relate to the FBI’s exoneration of Hillary Clinton. These are documents that were requested long ago, but because of the Bureau’s delay in getting them produced to the committee, the committee has finally issued a subpoena. The FBI says it is now stepping up its efforts. This is FBI Director Christopher Wray:
Up until today, we have dedicated 27 FBI staff to review the records that are potentially responsive to Chairman Goodlatte’s requests. The actual number of documents responsive to this request is likely in the thousands. Regardless, I agree that the current pace of production is too slow.
Accordingly, I am doubling the number of assigned FBI staff, for a total of 54, to cover two shifts per day from 8 a.m. to midnight to expedite completion of this project.
These investigative processes are all inadequate. To take just one example, I have never understood why Congressional committees begin by asking politely for documents, which are produced (if at all) at the discretion of the agency in question, rather than leading with a subpoena as would always be done in civil litigation. The clock is running: the Democrats will probably take the House in November, and I assume they will shut down all investigations into the Obama administration.
Let’s finish with Devin Nunes on Sean Hannity’s show last night:
I talked to a few members of Congress today. These are people who don’t follow this closely. Not on the House Intelligence Committee but follow it by the news. They were shocked and used expletives. They could not believe that the Obama White House was briefed by the FBI on an investigation into the Trump campaign. They could not believe it. I think that’s the reaction you are getting from most people in Congress that care about this issue, at least the Republicans and the American people. It continues to stink.