The Department of Justice Inspector General has sent what is described as an “extremely long and thorough draft” of the much anticipated report on the FBI and DOJ’s investigation and handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, this reporter has learned. The detailed report on the FBI’s decision making process into the Clinton investigation could lead to possible criminal referrals for some of the officials involved in the case.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report, which is expected to be released within the next three to four weeks to the public, has been turned over to current and former officials for review, as first reported in The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.
The draft, however, does not include any recommendations for criminal prosecution. If there was any evidence collected by the Inspector General’s office of criminality, Horowitz would then refer the matter to the Department of Justice and submit a criminal referral to prosecutors.
“It would be up to the Inspector General to make the recommendations but there is an expectation that there will be at least one referral for prosecution,” said a source familiar with the findings, who added that it is not conclusive as the Inspector General’s office never discusses ongoing investigations.
The report is expected to focus solely on the Clinton investigation and not on the 2016 Russia election meddling investigation, according to sources.
As for the criminal referrals, it would be similar to the outcome of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions after Horowitz’s explosive first report released in April found that he lied multiple times about authorizing a leak to The Wall Street Journal. In McCabe’s case, Horowitz referred his findings to Sessions, who fired him several days before he was set to retire. Horowitz also submitted a criminal referral on McCabe to the DOJ for possible criminal prosecution, as reported. It would be up to Washington prosecutors to determine whether or not to move forward with the referral and it elevated the possibility that McCabe would be charged with a crime. Horowitz’s report concluded that McCabe had lied to then-FBI Director James B. Comey, as well as his investigators and others regarding his authorization of the leak. McCabe lied on four occasions, three of those were under oath.
The Clinton report is expected to be followed by a third report on the IG’s investigation into the FBI and DOJ’s handling of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application on Carter Page, a former volunteer for the Trump campaign. The IG announced this investigation in March.
Earlier this year, the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia report revealed that the unverified dossier on alleged collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 elections was used as the bulk of evidence to gain the FISA to spy on Page. The Intelligence Committee report also revealed that the FISA court was not told that the dossier, which was assembled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele through embattled opposition research firm Fusion GPS, was paid for by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
This story has been updated for clarity on the Inspector General’s process regarding criminal referrals. For more information on the guidelines of the DOJ IG Inspector General’s Office read here.