The report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the FBI’s use of the FISA court to investigate Trump isn’t out till Monday, but already there are enough leaks to require hip boots. Are they accurate? Don’t know. In context? Who cares? Complete? No way. But, hey, who needs to see the whole thing? Democrats pass massive legislation they haven’t read, all the time. And they hope YOU will just read their little stories and never get around to the actual report.
In an early leak, we heard Horowitz has concluded that political bias wasn’t a factor in how the FBI investigated Trump/Russia “collusion.” Knowing what we know about everything these people did over a timeline of many months, along with the stunningly hateful Strzok/Page texts, this conclusion (if it’s really in there) would have to be a whitewash. You’ve seen the nauseating puff piece by Molly Jong-Fast for THE DAILY BEAST in which Page plays the victim and asserts it’s “unfathomable” that she has committed any crime. Likely she’s already aware that Horowitz hasn't recommended charges against her.
But there are a number of things to keep in mind: First, an internal investigation typically tries not to rock the institutional boat too much. If bureaucrats think they can “solve” a problem with a few slaps on the wrist and a few papers quietly slipped into employee files, that’s what they’ll do. (‘Fraid that’s not going to work this time, though. We’re wise to this and absolutely will not buy it.)
Second, this sort of conclusion might be characteristic of Horowitz, who nonsensically concluded that political bias did not change the outcome of the investigation into Hillary’s use of a personal server while Secretary of State. If he could conclude that, he could conclude that the spirit of Winston Churchill lives inside my dishwasher.
Third, this is a voluminous report, with perhaps ten major findings, and even if one strategic leak makes it look as if the FBI swamp rats are off the hook, there’s serious stuff in there, which U.S. Attorney John Durham is no doubt already using as part of a “road map” for his own criminal probe. His reach goes much farther than Horowitz’s, and his conclusions may be altogether different. In fact, we already know it’s probable that Page did her share of “editing” on some key interview documents, particularly relating to Michael Flynn. One sure reason Lisa Page is timing her break from silence to happen right now is to stay just ahead of the IG report.
If she really thinks she’s been cleared on the matter of her texts with Peter Strzok, one has to wonder if she's aware of the release of Strzok’s FBI disciplinary file. Whew, it’s bad. As John Solomon reports, “The FBI has concluded the expression of political bias --- by BOTH of them --- in those emails constituted misconduct, brought dishonor upon the FBI and left the American public questioning the FBI’s conduct in two of the most important cases.”
The OIG (Office of the Inspector General) released a report last year with the extremely bureaucratic title, “A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election.” (I assume this was in response to Strzok’s ridiculous lawsuit over getting fired.) It said, “Your excessive, repeated and politically charged text messages, while you were assigned as the lead case agent on the FBI’s two biggest and most politically sensitive investigations in decades demonstrated a gross lack of professionalism and exceptionally poor judgment.” Criminal? That’s for Durham and, ultimately, Barr to decide. I would add (though I am not a lawyer --- it just seems like common sense) that even if the messages themselves are determined not to be criminal, they may serve as evidence in the larger criminal probe that’s going on.
Incidentally, Page isn’t the only one trying to stay ahead of the IG report. Why do you think the Fusion GPS guys just released their book? Here are the details, for when you have time:
And now, the latest leak, courtesy of the Washington Post, is that Attorney General William Barr has told people around him that he does not concur with Horowitz’s finding that the FBI had enough information by July 2016 to justify opening the Trump investigation. But it looks as though WAPO is trying to put out a false narrative ahead of the report; that leak could be wrong in multiple ways. In fact, the DOJ released a statement Monday night saying, “The Horowitz report represents the best of the DOJ, and people should wait for the report.” Sen. Lindsay Graham agrees...
Of course, the impeachment hearings keep hopping along regardless, with or without Trump –- who’s in Europe, being President –- or even his attorneys in the hearing room. You already know that on Sunday, counsel to the President Pat Cipollone wrote to Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, telling him to go pound sand. Nadler plans to proceed Wednesday as planned, by calling four legal experts to talk about the constitutionality of impeachment. I take this to mean that, after years of investigating both candidate- and President Trump, they still find themselves in the awkward position of having to talk people into this impeachment idea.
As Ken Starr said with a chuckle to Laura Ingraham Monday night, “Some of these are my friends...but they are very political. They are VERY political, and this is simply going to be a political exercise. We’ll probably learn a few snippets of history, but, nonetheless, we are on a bad, bad train ride, and we are about to have a train wreck.”
One witness: Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, who’s already spent a lot of time thinking and expounding about the impeachment of Trump. He said that Trump’s pardoning of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was an impeachable offense. When Trump tweeted about being wiretapped in Trump Tower, that was also impeachable. When Trump allegedly –- he did not do this –- directed Michael Cohen to lie, Feldman had the knives out for him again. Feldman even claimed that an ad for Mar-A-Lago that appeared on a government website was an impeachable offense. I’ll bet every day, he comes up with a new reason to impeach. And not only does he call for Rudy Giuliani to be investigated, but also Bill Barr, by a new special counsel.
Second witness: Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, who, before Trump even took office, co-signed a letter with 42 other legal professionals urging the President-elect to change his tone –- and even his views on a number of issues. She encouraged those “aggrieved” to challenge him in court.
Third witness: University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt, who has already written in the ATLANTIC that these impeachment proceedings are “fully legitimate.”
There’s a fourth witness (the “token”?) probably requested by the GOP: George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who has criticized Democrats’ handling of the impeachment process.
Wednesday’s hearing is set up to be an absolute sham. We’re gonna need those hip boots.