Justice Department officials expect the inspector general’s report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against the Trump campaign to be released in the latter half of November.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced the completion of his year-and-a-half investigation on Sept. 13, providing a draft copy of the report to the Justice Department and FBI for a classification review.
One DOJ official told the Washington Post they aim to have the report released by Nov. 20, but another said after Thanksgiving was more likely due to what was described as a “complicated and contentious mix of legal, classification and political issues at play.”
Republicans and conservative media figures feverishly anticipated the report would emerge in October, and more recently, the first week of November. That confidence started dwindling in the past couple weeks as they expressed concerns about the possibility that current and former officials are jockeying to redact as much of the report as possible.
Former Republican Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, now a Fox News contributor, said “evidently, there’s an intra-agency debate … about the classification issues,” and the report could be 10%-20% redacted when it is released. Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, tweeted about how “deep state” forces may be trying to “deep-six” the report.
On Oct. 24, Horowitz provided an update to Congress, saying the classification review was “nearing completion.” He also said he expects the final report to “be released publicly with few redactions” and does not “anticipate a need to prepare and issue separate classified and public versions of the report.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham is getting an update Wednesday from Attorney General William Barr, who said earlier this year he believes “spying” did occur against the Trump 2016 campaign. Barr is also overseeing U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal review of the origins of the Russia investigation.
Republicans argue top Justice Department and FBI officials misled the FISA court by using an unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele to obtain warrants to electronically monitor onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Democrats have dismissed the allegations of wrongdoing during the Trump-Russia investigation and are concerned that Durham’s review of the early stages of the Russia investigation may be an effort to discredit the work of special counsel Robert Mueller.
President Trump said last month the release of the FISA report will shed light on a “corrupt election” and believes the string of misconduct “goes right up” to his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
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