Politics 'Concerned' Democrats fretting DOJ inspector general ahead of FISA report

11:25  29 november  2019
11:25  29 november  2019 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Inspector General Horowitz reportedly nears end of probe into FISA abuse. DOJ wrapping up investigation; reaction and analysis from Rep. Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said he met last week Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, to discuss when the report will be released.

Inspector general opens investigation into FISA court. The Justice Department 's internal watchdog will now Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday the inspector general of the Department of Justice will probe allegations of A final report on the investigation is expected within several months.

Democrats are getting antsy with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Michael Horowitz wearing a suit and tie© Provided by Washington Examiner

Ahead of next month's release of a report on the Russia investigation that is eagerly anticipated by Republicans, Democrats are asking why Horowitz has not taken up their requests to assess the conduct of President Trump's attorneys general over the past couple years.

"Nobody is suggesting that Michael Horowitz, the independent watchdog appointed by Obama is partisan, or is unfair, or is unethical. But what Democrats are concerned about is they feel he’s avoiding the tough fights," journalist Ken Dilanian said on MSNBC. "They say he did a lot of really fraught investigations under President Obama."

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The Department of Justice 's internal watchdog announced Wednesday that it will review the DOJ and FBI's compliance with the law and their own policies The DOJ did not name the "certain U.S. person," but some Republican members of Congress have asked DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to

Reports . The OIG has jurisdiction to review the programs and personnel of the FBI, ATF, BOP, DEA, USAO, USMS, and all other organizations within the Department , as well as contractors of the Department and organizations receiving grant money from the Department .

On Wednesday, the NBC News reporter had a report published that compares Horowitz's work under Trump versus other inspectors general, finding that other agency watchdogs are conducting inquiries into Trump appointees while Horowitz has been more focused on the past.

"As far as we can tell, Horowitz has given a full pass to Trump's DOJ, the most politicized Department in modern times," said one senior Democratic aide.

Horowitz was sworn in as DOJ inspector general in 2012 and is widely regarded as being thorough and fair. But at least one Democrat, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, has said his work has been "tainted" by the politics of the Trump era.

Democrats in the House and Senate have requested Horowitz conduct investigations into matters including whether former Attorney General Jeff Sessions violated his recusal from the Russia investigation and how Attorney General William Barr handled special counsel Robert Mueller's report. But the watchdog declined on both, citing jurisdictional issues.

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The Justice Department 's internal watchdog announced Wednesday it has launched a probe into the department and the FBI's handling of FISA The review by Inspector General Michael Horowitz came after requests from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and members of Congress, the IG's office

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz looks on as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on "Examining the Inspector And while Barr testified that he expected the report into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ( FISA ) abuse to be ready in May or last

Stephanie Logan, a spokeswoman for Horowitz, dismissed the notion that the inspector general plays favorites. She said Horowitz "carefully considers every request for oversight" by all lawmakers.

"For example, Inspector General Horowitz has met directly with members of Congress and their staffs on multiple occasions to discuss their concerns about DOJ compliance with its policy on communications with the White House, and related matters," Logan said.

She continued, "At each of these meetings, the inspector general has also flagged a limitation in the Office of the Inspector General’s jurisdiction, imposed by Congress, that restricts our ability to investigate allegations of professional misconduct by Department attorneys. We hope the Senate will consider the Inspector General Access Act, which the House passed on a bipartisan basis, and would resolve this jurisdictional limitation."

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A draft of the much-anticipated report from the Justice Department 's internal watchdog, addressing a wide-ranging set of allegations that department protocols were flouted when the FBI investigated Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information, has been completed

Democrats call the GOP memo an effort to raise misleading doubts about the Russia investigation’s On she surface, it might seem like this helps Trump by keeping alive the idea that the FISA warrant And an IG’s report is a powerful thing. As a general rule, Inspectors General can be counted on to

Democrats have been particularly critical of Barr ever since he began his second stint as attorney general in February. For instance, Schiff accused him of "weaponizing" the Justice Department to attack Trump's political rivals.

On the inspector general's website is a list of dozens of "ongoing" projects by Horowitz's team that focus on the conduct of the DOJ and its sub-agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the FBI. A couple are investigations that could touch on top Trump officials.

But it is Horowitz's high-profile investigations that focused on top Obama officials that have garnered the most attention in recent years. These included investigations into the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton emails investigation, former FBI Director James Comey and his memos, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's conduct.

McCabe was fired in 2018 right before he planned to retire after Horowitz found he repeatedly lacked candor under oath, and he later filed a wrongful termination lawsuit.

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During the Obama years, the watchdog conducted significant inquiries into Attorney General Eric Holder and his deputies, including the gun-running "Fast and Furious" operation.

Now Horowitz is on the cusp of releasing a report on the DOJ's and FBI's compliance with rules and policies in applications filed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

While the Democrats have defended the FBI's actions, Trump's GOP allies believe his report, set to be released on Dec. 9, will show that top Justice Department and FBI officials misled the FISA court in their use of an unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele to obtain warrants to wiretap Page.

Earlier this month, Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe said that Horowitz's findings on the FBI intelligence-gathering activities are "likely to be damning" in how it reflects upon the Obama administration, and by extension former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

He also claimed Democratic leaders in the House are "racing" through impeachment proceedings to counter the inspector general report and another examination of the Russia investigation being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham. His administrative review shifted into a criminal investigation in the fall.

Early leaks about a draft report show Horowitz found missteps and lapses in judgment by the FBI, but no evidence of spying on the Trump campaign or political bias by top officials tainting the Russia investigation as some Trump allies have alleged.

Horowitz is scheduled to testify about his investigation before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 11.

Report will clear FBI of misdeeds in Russia investigation .
The Justice Department's internal watchdog has determined that political bias did not influence the federal investigation of potential links between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016, according to people familiar with the matter, countering White House claims of deliberate partisan influence. 

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