President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Justice Department Attorney General William Barr was misquoted in a recent news report, suggesting he was at odds with Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s much anticipated upcoming report on the FBI’s investigation into Russia. It’s one of many stories speculating what the Horowitz investigation will reveal on Dec. 9, and whether or not there was malfeasance on the part of FBI officials charged with investigating Trump’s campaign.
Trump made the statement to reporters at the NATO meeting in London Tuesday. Monday’s story in the Washington Post was at odds with what the President heard and what he has been reading, he said.
The Post reported that Barr conflicted with Horowitz on his finding that the FBI had enough evidence to begin the investigation July 2016, into the Trump campaign. It is considered a major key finding of the report, according to publication.
However, Barr was not quoted in the story. Instead, the paper relied on associates close to Barr for the information so it is uncertain whether or not the Attorney General does disagree with Horowitz.
Trump said Barr was “quoted incorrectly.”
“I do believe that because I’m hearing the [inspector general’s] report is very powerful,” said Trump. “But I’m hearing that by reading lots of different things, not from inside information. It’s really from outside information. I think all we have to do is wait.”
Justice Department Issues Statement
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec issued a statement Monday night in response to the story, saying on Twitter that the public will soon have the opportunity to read the report.
“The Inspector General’s investigation is a credit to the Department of Justice. His excellent work has uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves.”
“Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters,” she added.
DOJ statement on upcoming IG report: pic.twitter.com/tI0O4tV0jF
— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) December 3, 2019
Speculation Grows, Stories Leak
Over the past month, a number of major news outlets, including The Washington Post and the New York Times, have speculated about the upcoming report and have spoken to sources connected to or who have been interviewed by Horowitz.
Those sources have downplayed the IG report, suggesting that Horowitz didn’t find that anti-Trump bias affected the FBI’s handling of the investigation into the Trump campaign or President Trump.
However, a number of sources familiar with the report that have spoken to SaraACarter.com, suggest that the Horowitz report will be damning of the how agents handling the investigation failed to follow FBI procedures and altered the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on short term campaign volunteer Carter Page.
Further, the report will reveal that the FBI failed to provide the Trump campaign with a full defensive briefing when agents suspected Russia of trying to influence the campaign, according to sources. It will be a significant finding, particularly if then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was treated differently.
Graham Cautions On Speculation
Further, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham is warning the public not to be swayed by sources leaking information to the New York Times and Washington Post.
Graham told this reporter Monday night that the New York Times and The Washington Post stories on the Horowitz investigation are attempting to control the narrative. He expects the report to be thorough and reveal the truth about the FBI’s role in the investigation.
“Be wary of the Washington Post and the New York Times reporting on what is coming up with [Inspector General] Horowitz,” Graham tweeted Tuesday. “They have been trying overtime to spin this thing to diminish its effect, to downplay it.”
Be wary of the Washington Post and the New York Times reporting on what is coming up with [Inspector General] Horowitz.
They have been trying overtime to spin this thing to diminish its effect, to downplay it.https://t.co/DXYr8co9xZ
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 3, 2019
The Targets Leak
The Horowitz has interviewed or targeted during the investigation. For example, a recent report by the New York Times said former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith altered documents associated with the FISA application on Carter Page. The paper described Clinesmith as a low-level lawyer with the bureau and suggested that Horowitz won’t be hard the bureau’s handling of the case.
The description of Clinesmith as a low-level lawyer is also in dispute, as Clinesmith was part of former Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation into Trump and he was an attorney with the FBI’s National Security and Cyber Law Branch. He also worked under FBI General Counsel James Baker, who left the FBI and is now under investigation for leaking national security related information. Clinesmith, who sent numerous anti-Trump texts, also worked for Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson.
On Sunday, former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page, whose name became national after reports revealed she was having an affair with FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, spoke to the Daily Beast after years of silence. She said she had to speak out because Trump made her a target of his Tweets and speeches.
The FBI fired Strzok last year and Page has since left the bureau. Strzok and Page sent thousands of text messages to one another during their affair. Many of the text messages discovered by Horowitz and Congress were vehemently anti-Trump.
The discovery of the texts led to their removal from Mueller’s investigation.
Here’s some texts:
“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page texted Strzok in August 2016, during the investigation into the campaign.
“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.
In another text message sent in August by Strzok to Page, he “I want to believe the path you threw out in Andy’s [McCabe’s] office—that there’s no way he gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take the risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
Page only told Molly Jong-Fast, also anti-Trump and a columnist from the Daily Beast, that people misunderstood their text messages but she never clarified what she and Strzok actually meant.