Russia Probe

Report Says FBI Snooping on Trump Campaign Aide Was Justified but Badly Mishandled

The FBI’s screw-ups when wiretapping Carter Page weren’t motivated by political bias. But that’s not exactly good news.

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According to a massive report that the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General released today, the FBI's investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign's possible connections with the Russian government was justified and not driven by political bias—but it was full of blunders and bad omissions.

The report analyzes the circumstances under which the FBI asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment (FISA) courts for permission to secretly wiretap Carter Page, a foreign policy advisor in Trump's campaign. FBI officials were concerned Page might be compromised or working as a foreign agent, and they sought and received permission to wiretap him, permission they renewed three times.

But did anti-Trump bias cloud the attitudes of the officials involved in the decision to open the investigation? Text messages between former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and FBI agent Peter Strzok fueled "deep state" theories claiming that the investigation was launched in order to take Trump down. Their requests to the FISA court relied partly on a dossier alleging that Russian officials had compromising info on Trump—a dossier the former British spy Christopher Steele had developed as a political weapon. That raised the question of whether the FISA court had received adequate explanation about the dossier's roots and credibility.

After a lengthy investigation involving more than 170 interviews with more than 100 witnesses, the Office of the Inspector General has concluded that the decisions to open an investigation and to request renewals of the warrants were not driven by a bias against Trump. But it did not conclude that everything the FBI did was fine. According to the report, the FBI was not as thorough and as accurate as it needed to be as it was requesting permission to wiretap Page:

Our review found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure that all factual statements in a FISA application are "scrupulously accurate." We identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.

The IG office found seven problems with the very first FISA warrant application. These included: leaving out the fact that Page in the past had provided the FBI with information about his contacts with Russian intelligence officers; overstating the degree that Steele's prior reporting had been used in criminal proceedings; omitting information from Steele himself that one of his sources was prone to boasting and may have some credibility issues; incorrectly claiming that Steele wasn't the source of a leak of his information to Yahoo News; and even omitting some comments from consensual interviews with Page where he denied having met certain Russian officials. These errors were not corrected in the renewal applications.

The IG report notes that the FBI was unable to corroborate any of the information about Page that was in the Steele report, even as they kept seeking renewal of the wiretapping. Page has not been charged with any crimes.

The subsequent warrant applications added 10 more errors or omissions to the inspector general's list, including a failure to inform the FISA court that Steele's reporting was also going to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and or to make sure the court knew that Steele had been described as "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected."

The report also heavily criticizes Justice Department attorney Bruce Ohr, who met with Steele, the FBI, and the State Department and discussed the contents of Steele's dossier. Ohr did not inform his supervisors that he was connected to the information, even though those supervisors were among those who signed off on the FISA warrant requests, and even though Ohr was the one who knew that Steele was heavily against a Trump victory. But while the report concludes that Ohr made some serious errors in judgment, he did not violate specific department policies. It does not recommend any charges against Ohr or anybody else, but does recommend that Ohr's supervisors in the Criminal Division review the findings about Ohr's performance for "any action they deem appropriate." That's a recommendation for possible discipline, but not criminal charges.

So altogether, the inspector general found 17 incidents of "serious performance failures by the supervisory and non-supervisory agents with responsibility over the FISA applications." But no political bias!

Both sides of the effort to impeach Trump can conceivably claim victory here, which essentially means that both sides lose. One side will be able to argue that the FBI has been cleared of any claims of bias. The other side will be able to argue that there's plenty of evidence of the FBI playing fast and loose when requesting permission to snoop on a political campaign, deliberately withholding information the FISA court would want to know.

For the rest of us, what's most important and troubling here is what the report says about how the FBI operates. It's important not to fall for a false choice here. It's OK to believe that Trump's behavior was profoundly corrupt and also to be deeply concerned that the FBI cut far too many corners when it sought permission to secretly snoop on an American citizen. The only reason we know this much information about the investigation is because it was connected to Trump's political campaign. What we don't know—and maybe will never know—is how frequently the FBI omits important information in other wiretap requests that involve Americans.

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  1. Carter Page! Holy shit, remember him?

    1. Wasn’t he in Spin City?

  2. So altogether, the inspector general found 17 incidents of “serious performance failures by the supervisory and non-supervisory agents with responsibility over the FISA applications.” But no political bias!

    “Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

    1. These were Top Men.

      Only Top Men can screw up so bad, and in reliably predictable fashion, and yet still be completely unbiased.

      That is what makes them Top Men.

    2. I also love how Scotty boy states unequivocally there was no bias… yet the report stated it found no documented or testimonial evidence of bias. Why would the FBI document or admit it? Sometimes you have to make a judgement without direct evidence.

  3. But no political bias!

    I look forward to reading the full report (OK, a baldface lie), but there’s a difference between a pattern of explicit bias and bias as a motivating factor. People were clearly sloppy and/or intentionally cutting corners. Did they do this because they such as FBI agents or because they had clear undeniable bias? Does that really matter? They did a shitty job and have now been clearly called out for it beyond just what the media reported. That’s a start.

    an American citizen

    C’mon now Shack…a CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT…you’d think their standards should be even higher than when they’re investigating one of us peons. They should be exceptionally careful and detail oriented in such a situation.

    1. because they suck

      When will the squirrels build a preview?

      1. “because they suck as FBI agents” should also be edited to “because, as FBI agents, they suck”. The first formulation could lead one to believe you think they aren’t living up to the normal high standards of the FBI whereas the second makes it clear they were acting completely in accordance with the normal standards of the FBI.

    2. //“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff. However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”//

      -John Durham

    3. As I read it, (Not remotely done yet!) all he really said was that he ran across no written confessions that the thing was motivated by political bias. He certainly found enough bias, but it might have been just coincidence that people biased against Trump were conducting a poorly justified spying operation against his campaign and administration.

      1. “the Russian government was justified and not driven by political bias—but it was full of blunders and bad omissions.”
        Yeah Scott’s statement above is not correct. All he said is that the investigation did not find any documentary or testimonial evidence of bias. It’s a critical distinction. That could mean there was none or it could mean nobody was willing to confess and they successfully destroyed any documentary evidence. The IG can only demand testimony from current FBI and DOJ employees all of whom have an incentive to protect the institution and cover their own asses.

        1. Actually, not even that. He had plenty of documentary evidence about the biases of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, but pointed out that Page was never in a decision making position, and in every case, Strzok’s decisions were reviewed and approved by supervisors, for whom no bias could be documented (typically by Bill Priestap, his 2nd level, then 1st level supervisor, whom Strzok and Page seemed to spend a lot of time and energy working around, and Strzok going informally to Page’s boss, DD McCabe directly).

    4. It’s ok to investigate an advisor to Trump, an active political candidate, but not ok to investigate Biden, who is also a political candidate. Would it have been ok to investigate Biden’s son, who was not a political candidate?

      What a fine wispy world!

      1. This is the conversation that those impeaching the President refuse to have, hence all the fig leaves being distributed.

        In at least some fairness, Republicans aren’t terribly interested either. Both sides, in this case, have reason to want to protect this extra-constitutional apparatus of the state but only one side can be shown to have blatantly cheated said system.

        I mean, we can be upset about the existence of an extra-constitutional apparatus even while we’re upset about a specific use of it as well. In fact, one might even say it’s necessary.

        You’d need to blind, deaf, and dumb to believe that if this is what they can do to a candidate for President (and an actual duly elected President) that there is little doubt they’re doing far worse to you and I.

        1. If the Watergate burglars who attempted to steal Democratic Party documents had been found to be Russian military intelligence officers, as were those who hacked Democratic Party e-mails in 2016, trying to aid the Nixon presidential election efforts. Nixon would have been imprisoned. Collusion or no collusion, conspiracy or no conspiracy, obstruction or no obstruction.

          If the present Republican legislators were in charge of Nixon’s Watergate defense, they would focus on the security guard and police who reported the Watergate break-in. They also would repeat over and over again that there is no security camera film that shows Nixon himself at the scene of the break-in. They also would claim that the break-in was legitimate because the DNC was colluding with Cuba. Nixon tried to get the CIA to falsely say that there was a legitimate reason for the break-in. The CIA rejected that. No Republicans publicly made that argument, and the public only later learned that Nixon had asked CIA, or even just discussed doing so. And just the fact Nixon asked CIA to do this, that was a ground for impeachment, even though the CIA did not carry out what Nixon wanted.

          The Republican legislators’ behavior in the current impeachment proceedings should not be compared to the Republican legislators of the Watergate Nixon era. Rather, a much better comparison is the similarity with the all-white jury that acquitted the killers of 14-year old Emmett Till in 1955 Mississippi. The killers made no attempt to conceal their identities from the multiple witnesses and the killers sold their story of exactly how they had lynched Emmett Till to Look Magazine for $40,000.

          1. This is one of the dumber things on the internet today

    5. That is exactly right.

    6. “but there’s a difference between a pattern of explicit bias and bias as a motivating factor.”

      In a theoretical sense, sure. If they’d been biased, but pursuing an obviously justified investigation in a spotless manner, you might say, no harm, no foul. But When there’s pervasive bias AND the investigation appears to have been poorly justified and rife with ethical and perhaps legal violations, you’re hard put to claim the bias had nothing to do with what happened.

    7. The report actually says the IG found no documented or testimonial evidence of bias, which nobody expected. They are using this as proof of no bias. It is a leap quite far for most, but par for the course of the intellectuals at Reason.

      1. You must be a fucking moron then, to not understand that the absence of proof is actually proof of absence. No matter what the other fucking moron Rumsfeld said. It is how court cases are decided, and this was not even that.

        Hence “no reasonable prosecutor would…”

  4. What a shitshow DC is.

    1. Well, since we’re forced to pay for it can you at least *try* to enjoy it?

  5. Obama appointee found no political bias?

    Legit.

    1. Shackford sure slurped it up

    2. He was a Bush appointee first, you bigoted rube.

      1. How fucking retarded are you?

        https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/man-investigates-investigators-doj-inspector-general-michael-horowitz/story?id=55574089

        “Appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed in 2012, Horowitz is the fourth person to hold the post of Justice Department Inspector General since the position was created nearly three decades ago.”

        1. He’s very fucking retarded.

        2. He’s not at all. He’s actually correct. Horowitz got his start in 2003, when he was nominated by President Bush to serve as Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Rights, where he served until being nominated in 2011 for Department of Justice Inspector General.

          https://www.ignet.gov/content/michael-e-horowitz

      2. Ahahhaja you FUCKING RETARD AHAHAAHAHAHAHAH

    3. Another fucking moron who fails to grasp his dick or his mom’s when he does not understand that ALL this was led by Republicans:

      Comey
      Wray
      Barr
      Horowitz
      that other fucking Republican
      Strzok
      Rosenstein

      Go fuck your mom’s dick

  6. So, in conclusion, FISA warrants for surveillance on the man would become President of the United States were sloppily conceived and delivered, but you can rest assured that they’re very diligently put together to look your shit over, average person.

  7. Scott Shackford : “Both sides of the effort to impeach Trump can conceivably claim victory here, which essentially means that both sides lose”

    Nope. The side who claimed the Russian investigation was some Deep State fraud lost YUGE. But – hey – they still get to put all their tin-foil-hat dreams into the bosom of John Durham – at least for a while. Eventually reality will catch up with’em there as well…

    1. Delusional.

      1. GRB a lying delusional piece of shit? The Hell you say!

    2. Lying on the FISA applications meant they knew they had nothing.

      You lost. Totally.

      1. Government is going to cover government’s ass.

        Lying on a FISA application should be a friggin felony.

        Who would have thought that a secret court would have little accountability?

        1. Barr and Durhman have already made statements that Horowitz’s conclusions do not constrain their investigations and they do not agree with them.

          //The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. …[T]he malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.//

          1. “”Barr and Durhman have already made statements””

            Statements schmatements.

            Nothing is going to happen because government ultimately protects itself.

            1. You are probably correct. The government does not investigate itself. Investigative journalists used to shoulder that burden.

              1. The 4th Estate is more like the hourly motel.

              2. Unfortunately those days are over (if they ever really existed).

                What I can guarantee, however, is that from here on out it will be an onslaught against all Team Red presidents no matter who they are or what they do, and they will always provide cover for any Team Blue President.

                It’s all partisan politics now. Team is all that matters.


                1. Unfortunately those days are over (if they ever really existed).

                  Those days never existed. It says a lot about journalism that the highest award in journalism is a Pulitzer. A prize specifically named at one of the worst examples of ‘journalism’ in American history.

                  No joke.

                2. The real ‘team’ is really the embedded bunch of appointees and civil service shitbags that perpetuate the dominance of the same kind of Keile from the same kind of schools, families, and backgrounds. They went after Trump because he promised to undo their system, and them along with it

                  They all need to go. Period.

      2. Is that SPB admitting the FBI was wrong?

        1. Yep. I won the name in a loser leaves town match.

          1. You’re doing yeoman’s work you know

            1. ‘Yeoman work’ or ‘yeoman service’ is simply good, honest, hard work. 

              Your assessment couldn’t be more dishonest

              1. You are boring, and an asshole.

                1. He’s stupid too.

              2. Go eat some more tide pods bitch.

              3. Cry more

    3. “The side who claimed the Russian investigation was some Deep State fraud lost YUGE.”

      So the illegal surveillance was just deep state incompetence. Got it.

      1. I mean, it’s either one or the other at this point. And neither is worthy of bragging.

        1. Keep in mind that this galaxy-brained doofus has been quoting novelette-long numbered lists cribbed right from ShareBlue for the last few weeks. They haven’t gotten their talking points out on this yet, so a terse statement of denial is all we get from the hicklib for now.

    4. The credulous retards like you and every single employee of Reason Magazine and the Reason Foundation who defended the legitimacy of the investigation from the outset and claimed it would result in impeachment and criminal prosecution of the president certainly having nothing to be ashamed of. LMAO. MAGA!

  8. The same old crap: “we’re not evil, just incompetent”. And it’s supposed to make us feel better about giving them more power.

    1. At least this time it wasn’t “we’re not evil, just under-resourced”. 8-(

      1. SARC
        If the FBI only had a larger budget, all of these problems would go away.
        /SARC

    2. Time was that ”””””libertarians””””” would have instinctively rejected such a conclusion instead of barking like trained seals. But of course Reason is not and has never been libertarian, so that kind of makes sense.

      1. Reason was always a dickhole of Koch libertarians. Support Republicans until they fuck up, and then do seventeen pieces on college snowflakes or how some rapist did not get due process.

        The greatest snowflake today is Nunes, who has $900+ million in defamation suits because his feefees were hurt by a Internet cow.

        You’d expect Soave and co. to be on it it if were a Democrat or a third year student at Yale crying foul.

    3. Enjoy Every Sandwich : The same old crap: “we’re not evil, just incompetent”

      Absolutely hilarious coming from a Trump supporter. If DJT wasn’t such a clownish buffoon he’d been impeached years ago. Fortunately his aides ignored Trump’s more felonious snits & rants – at least back in the past…. DJT seems to have found less ethically-minded toadies for his dumbass scheme to extort a campaign ad from the Ukrainian government. I’m starting to wonder if Trump managed enough yes-men to sabotage Amazon’s bid for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract. You know such a sleazy turd tried; it’s just a question whether there were enough people moral enough to say no….

      1. Not nearly as hilarious as this pathetic try-hard shitpost of yours, hicklib.

        The best part is that Horowitz is now going to be digging into the last 15 years of FBI fuckups because of how they bungled this thing, based on nothing more than the fever dream of an ex-spook looking to help Hillary.

        1. Oh. So let’s try to understand your perspective:

          (1) You ache for the day Horowitz announces his finding, just like a tweeny girl sighing for her favorite boy band. At last, (you cry out), the conspiracy against Trump will be exposed! At last, (you wail), Trump will be seen as a victim!

          (2) Horowitz announces. You fantasies fizzle into dust & nothingness.

          (3) But – oh! – Horowitz will investigate more! Your heart soars again. At last, (you wail), the Weathermen will be seen as victims.

          Whatever. I’m just glad you’re taking your failure so well…..

          1. Ah, the grieving process of a Mueller truther

          2. “You ache for the day Horowitz announces his finding, just like a tweeny girl sighing for her favorite boy band.”

            Dude, get both hands back on the keyboard.

          3. Ahh, there’s the numbered list. Here’s one of my own:

            1) The report showed the FBI used nothing more than the Steele dossier to justify their investigation.

            2). The report showed 17 instances of the FBI omitting information, including one instance where they flat-out falsified documentation.

            3). The FBI fucked this up so badly that Horowitz is now going to be crawling up their asshole with a 15-year audit.

            4). You really need to get your ShareBlue talking points this morning before commenting further, because right now it’s just parroting of what you heard on the evening news.

        2. Hey shithead, cry louder!

  9. “One side will be able to argue that the FBI has been cleared of any claims of bias. The other side will be able to argue that there’s plenty of evidence of the FBI playing fast and loose when requesting permission to snoop on a political campaign, deliberately withholding information the FISA court would want to know.”

    Historically, with other Preaidents, how has thd FBI handled these claims, and did similar bad behavior occur?

    A journalist should get those answers. Maybe there isnt bias and it’s the same across Presidents.

    1. Especially when the report reveals that the source of their information was supposedly “desperate” to not see Trump become President.

      The other part of this, which isn’t being reported on right now, is that the FBI supposedly fucked this up so bad that Horowitz said he’ll be opening up a 15-year audit on their practices. I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg–keep in mind that the ONLY reason that the Weatherman bombers got the relatively light sentences they did was because the FBI blatantly broke all kinds of laws in gathering intel on their activities. After 30-40 years, I can’t imagine an investigation of the the kind of institutional rot that requires a 15-year audit is going to come up blank.

      1. The Washington Post debunked that “desperate” story today.

        Other than that, great comment.

        1. Ignore my earlier comment, you’re retarded.

        2. It’s right on page 16 of the pdf, you slack-jawed, slope-foreheaded, smooth-brained hicklib.

          Do you want a direct quote, or are you capable of reading something that doesn’t require crayon to complete?

          1. He’s so fucking stupid it’s been frequently wondered if he’s a parody account.

            1. What could he be parodying though?

              1. He’s a more eloquent baby jeffrey.

  10. protecting their own go figure.

  11. “Report Says FBI Snooping on Trump Campaign Aide Was Justified but Badly Mishandled.”

    Yeah, like the Watergate break in was “mishandled.”

    1. I guess one could say Trump asking for the Ukraine to investigate Hunter was badly mishandled.

    2. Not justified, but predicated. We have known this for two years. Strzok and Page were on pins and needles throughout at least July, 2016 waiting for the official, overseas, predicate that had adequate provenance. They knew it was coming, but it wasn’t coming fast enough for them, which suggests that they had advance knowledge.

      But the thing to keep in mind is they are all mid to senior level bureaucrats, and know how to make the paperwork look right. Which is very likely why Strzok knew that the predicate was on its way, thanks to his CIA connections, but they couldn’t use that information, until the FBI received it through proper channels.

      Right now it looks like the Crossfire Hurricane predication was fabricated by the CIA, through Brit Stephen Halper (who made several million dollars from an obscure DOD intel agency over several years, ending in 2016), with Halper controlling his friends Joseph Misfyp and Alexander Downer, as his agents, making it look like George Papadopoulos appears to be a Russian agent (along with Misfyp). This is why Barr and Durham were in Italy last month.

      This two step process, with the CIA setting up Papadopoulos, passing it off to the FBI to be used as their predicate for opening a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump Campaign, and the FBI ultimately filing for four FISA warrants on Carter Page, has been fairly obvious from when the Strzok/Page text messages first appeared better than two years ago. The interesting thing is that the FISA warrants were for Page, and not Papadopoulos, which I expect was completely unexpected by the CIA, because Page was apparently one of their agents, and they long knew of the contacts Page had had with the Russians, because he had been working for them at the time. The same Russian contacts utilized to justify the FISA warrants.

  12. Can you imagine if GW’s administration had done the same thing to somebody in Obama’s campaign office? Do you think the media would accept the claim of no bias?

    1. “”Do you think the media would accept the claim of no bias?”

      Not a chance.

    2. Reason would be calling for criminal prosecution, but then they have done so for every Republican to hold elected office since the cunt rag of a magazine was founded.

    3. But they wouldn’t have been biased in that case, they would have been racist. Totes different. Come on, man. You need to keep up.

      1. Beat me to it

    4. Hollywood would make movies about it for the next 50 years the way they still make movies about Nixon, and Welchie Boy and all the rest of the dick-sucking Obamatards on the Reason staff would have sent enough enraged spittle flying to fill up an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

  13. So, how about it FBI. Did you have some agents in the Clinton campaign too? I find it difficult to believe that Page was uniquely awful to the point of double-secret probation.

    1. Patrick Bryne former CEO of Overstock.com seems to believe that there were. In his various interviews Bryne steadfastly claims that FBI directed him to focus on several presidential campaigns including Clinton, Rubio, Cruz and eventually Trump.

      https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/08/23/details-behind-patrick-byrne-allegations-of-fbi-political-espionage/

      1. Now that’s an interesting read, and that is certainly one way a domestic law enforcement group could manufacture probable cause. I’m not sure how accurate any of that is, but it is interesting.

        1. They’ll always maintain plausible deniability, for some value of “plausible”. Certainly enough to satisfy the credulous rubes at Reason.

          1. It’s close enough to parallel construction techniques that it isn’t hard to believe it’s something our intel community would be capable of.

            We already know domestic law enforcement is breaking the law by not revealing how cases were actually constructed using NSA input, so really this would be very little surprise to me.

            It wouldn’t even be the first time the FBI has gone looking for dirt on candidates or individuals to increase their own power, either.

            Parallel Construction in Law Enforcement

            Does anyone think that practice has seriously stopped? If so, they are naive.

      2. Keep in mind that Bryne, who apparently introduced the Russian attorney to the Trump team, including Don Jr and Kussner, was the head of Overstock at the time, that was under investigation by the SEC at the time, and the person in charge of that investigation was Peter Strzok’s wife, Melissa Hodgman, who moved from Associate to Assistant Director of enforcement in October, 2016. The SEC required that Overstock disclose this enforcement action.

        1. What that means is that it seems very possible that Strzok had his wife help institute the SEC enforcement investigation into Overstock in order to coerce or leverage Byrne into cooperating with the FBI in setting up Trump’s inner circle for cooperating with the Russians in that infamous Trump Tower meeting.

  14. The bigger issue might be that people caught up in the investigation (Trump, remember they were not spying on him, just his campaign), had his name unmasked. Which was probably against the rules.

    1. Samantha Power literally unmasked hundreds of Americans illegally in the course of the Trump campaign spying, to the uproarious cheers of Reason.

  15. I do love the fact that the forwarded takeaway really is that the FBI acted incompetently and dishonestly, but since no one admitted they did it because of their bias against Trump that everything’s cool because the bar for investigations and behavior at the FBI is so low. I mean, this is just pathetic at this point.

    1. //but since no one admitted they did it because of their bias against Trump that everything’s cool because the bar for investigations and behavior at the FBI is so low.//

      That is basically it.

      Apparently, nobody told Horowitz “we did it because Trump is a piece of shit and if we don’t stop him from becoming President, we’ll kill ourselves.”

      Apparently, when it comes to reading Trump’s mind, scholars, lawyers, and members of congress can opine with authority what he was thinking and when. When comes to obvious political bias within the ranks of the FBI, we’re hit with “who knows what they were thinking?” routine.

      Funny how that works.

      1. To add to your comment, Horowitz specifically states in the IG report that “our role in this review was not to second-guess discretionary judgments by Department personnel about whether to open an investigation.” Basically admitting that they took each person’s word for the motivation behind the investigation.

        1. Although the report is very troubling, at the very least the factual foundations have been established as a springboard for Barr and Durham. Assessing motivations is very difficult. Additional information to which Horowitz was not privy may dramatically change the assessment. The fact that Barr and Durham said as much leads me to conclude that they have far more evidence at their disposal that did Horowitz.

          1. Assessing motivations is very difficult.

            Except where impeachment is concerned. In that case Reason and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) can be certain that Trump’s motives were impure and thus impeachable despite no crime or wrongdoing of any kind having actually been committed.

            1. //Except where impeachment is concerned.//

              Just another block in the unique Jenga tower we refer to as the “Jurisprudence of Trump.”

      2. Apparently, nobody told Horowitz “we did it because Trump is a piece of shit and if we don’t stop him from becoming President, we’ll kill ourselves.”

        Mind you they exchanged hundreds of text messages and emails saying precisely that, but we can’t take them at their word that they hated Trump with the heat of a thousand suns, just like we can’t take Trump and Zelensky at their word that no quid pro quo took place. When Trump said “I don’t want anything. No quid pro quo” he obviously meant that he wanted to withhold aid to Ukraine as leverage for an investigation into the obviously-innocent Bidens. When Page and Strzok said they needed an insurance policy to keep Trump out of office and then fabricated evidence to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on his campaign they obviously meant that nothing could ever jeopardize their neutrality and faithful execution of their sacred oaths to the American public.

        1. //When Trump said “I don’t want anything. No quid pro quo” he obviously meant that he wanted to withhold aid to Ukraine as leverage for an investigation into the obviously-innocent Bidens. When Page and Strzok said they needed an insurance policy to keep Trump out of office and then fabricated evidence to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on his campaign they obviously meant that nothing could ever jeopardize their neutrality and faithful execution of their sacred oaths to the American public.//

          As the saying goes, if the Democrats didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all.

        2. Note that Horowitz specified that Page was never in a decision baking position, and Strzok’s important decisions were always rubberstamped by his supervisor (typically Bill Priestap) who never showed documented bias.

          1. Fuck off Mike.

    2. What was the reason behind the dishonesty?
      What was so important that you would put your career on the line?

      Unless page is charged, she will not have to answer.

      1. //What was the reason behind the dishonesty?//

        Good question.

        1. Unless you can accurately get that question answered. Then the question of bias or not is inconclusive.

          1. Not exactly. A pattern would lead one to reasonably conclude bias. If each negligent mistake were truely due to sloppy work, one would expect that some exculpatory evidence would have made it into the FISA requests, or some damning info may have been left out. But if there is a clear and distinct advantage for one narrative over another in every case of negligence, then chances are it isn’t actually negligence.

            Granted, that’s not 100% proof. But it’s far more probable in such a case than a result being actually “inconclusive” in that there is is no way to tell. It isn’t a 50/50 toss up at that point.

  16. factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation

    Sounds justified to me.

    1. “”in the first FISA application””

      Makes me wonder what kind of shenanigans was in the second application.

    2. They reached the conclusion they were supposed to, so I suppose it’s fine in retrospect. After all, the ends justify the means.

    3. Kind of like that raid on that house in texas that got two people killed.

      it too was considered justified even though al documents were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation

  17. So, the investigation was ‘justified’ but the materials used to justify the investigation were seriously flawed.

    Ok.

    Strangely this argument did not wash when offered by a certain guy named Acevedo.

    1. That’s totally different. Local cops persecuting trailer trash junkies is a national shame. The entire intelligence apparatus of the federal government illegally spying on the campaign of the opposing party’s presidential candidate is just boys being boys.

  18. Yes both sides will spin this to their advantage. What we do know is that there was a great deal of contact between the Trump campaign and the Russians and that the Russians were attempting to influence the election. The evidence is out there. You can argue that it is inadmissible, but it still there. The best President Trump can do is argue for technical acquittal while we know there is guilt.

    1. “we know there is guilt”

      cry more

    2. THE WALLS ARE CLOSING IN!


    3. What we do know is that there was a great deal of contact between the Trump campaign and the Russians and that the Russians were attempting to influence the election.

      This is a logically fallacy, for what it’s worth.

      By this measure, everyone in government is guilty of ‘collusion’.

      Even Hillary Clinton would be in jail for the Steele dossier, and honestly I’m not sure what happens if both candidates for President are arrested at the last minute. Would that make Obama President for a while longer if it happened?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

    4. “”The evidence is out there.””

      Like aliens. But we can’t seem to find them. I mean we know it’s there because people are talking about what they heard. Like, my neighbor said he overheard a conversation with Ted talking to Bob about Bob’s abduction by little green men.

  19. Thank god you reached your fundraising goal…

    For a second I thought you weren’t going to be around for another year to push “nothing to see here” narratives from your swamp buddies while pissing and moaning about phone calls

  20. “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page wrote to Strzok in a text message set to be released Thursday as part of a Department of Justice inspector general’s report.
    “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok, who was dating Page at the time, responded.

    ““Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support.”

    Yep, no bias here, just your average texts between 2 high ranking FBI agents who also just happened to be running the FISA wiretaps on Trumps campaign.

  21. “‘We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open the four individual investigations,’ the report states.”

    DOJ IG: We asked them if they were biased and they all said no, so case closed.

    Reason: Good enough for us!

    1. Headline: Report Says … The FBI’s screw-ups when wiretapping Carter Page weren’t motivated by political bias.

      Report: We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence

      Scott is consistently the dumbest Reason scribe.

      1. Scott is consistently the dumbest Reason scribe.

        As fucking retarded as Shackford is, Binion, Brown and Soave would have to subject themselves to genetic engineering and intensive study just to reach his level of retardation. Gillespie is an intellectual powerhouse by the standards of Reason.

        1. I just come here to laugh at people who aspire to make 42K as a staff writer at the Daily Beast, so take it FWIW … IMO those others you listed don’t make the kind of mistakes that make me wonder if they could get a GED.

    2. Isn’t that like the “investigation” into HiLIARy exposing national secrets on her bathroom server?
      “We asked everyone if there was intent and they all said there wasn’t. Good enough for us.”

      1. And in most cases it was the exact same people. Imagine that! One case involving a Democrat where the investigators give the object of their investigation every benefit of the doubt (to the extent of refusing to even publicly call it an ‘investigation’), allowed to have her coconspirator present during her FBI interview, and all of her associates are given preemptive grants of immunity for any crimes that might incidentally come to light.

        Then another case involving a Republican President where his associates are aggressively hounded and prosecuted for process crimes, details are leaked to the media to paint him in the worst possible light, and after their exhaustive investigation turns up no evidence of Russian ‘collusion’, they turn the American system of jurisprudence on its ear and announce that they didn’t find evidence of his complete innocence.

        But IG Michael Horowitz says there was no partisan bias, and Michael Horowitz is an honorable man…

  22. Hey look, Reason supports the surveillance state, secret courts, and clandestine spying on political campaigns. Libertarians for unconstrained surveillance!

    1. Well…as long as it’s used against someone they don’t like.

  23. What about Paul Manafort? Why wasn’t he being surveilled? It’s amazing to me that this investigation started with Carter Page when you had a guy like Paul Manafort staring them in the face.

    1. Perhaps because Manafort was working with Podesta and the powers that be had yet to decide to give Podesta immunity.

    2. Actually the investigation began “because of information provided to the State Department by a “Friendly Foreign Government.” (We know that “FFG” was Australia, which reported conversations between George Papadopoulos and an Australian diplomat in Britain in which Papadopoulos said he knew the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton.)”

      Manafort and Page were looked at later.

      1. Who told Papdopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary?

        1. that would be an undercover FBI operative acting as a Russian.

      2. Actually the investigation began “because of information provided to the State Department by a “Friendly Foreign Government.”

        LOL

      3. Actually Manafort had been under investigation before Papadopoulos or Page.

        1. Actually, youve been caught lying repeatedly in this very thread.

      4. Wasn’t that “friendly” foreign government the one that made a deal with 0blama, after Trump was elected, to have the US take in aliens, trying to get into Australia, that said government decided were unacceptable to them?
        I’m sure they thought Trump would embrace that concept.

    3. Shut the hell up about Manafort – that was the Ukrainians and Ukraine has absolutely nothing to do with nothing! We’re talking about the corruption of Trump and Russians rigging the election, not about Ukrainians and any mysterious black ledgers they just completely coincidentally happened to find just before the election. And besides, it was a one-off thing. Nobody has ever accused the Ukrainians of any other sort of corruption in any way whatsoever. Well, except the Russians and Trump, but that’s a big fat lie designed to deflect attention from their own corruption.

      1. God above, but aren’t you guys spewing all kinds of frantic desperation? You insisted Horowitz would expose the conspiracy of your wacko fantasy dreams. He found the exact opposite. You’re busy trying to prop-up nonsense of Ukrainian plots against Trump, which isn’t going anywhere because it’s total bullshit. You think Barr or Durham will produce something where there’s nothing. Prepare to be disappointed.

        The Planet Earth is prepared to welcome you back to reality if you choose to rejoin the rest of us……

        1. Horowitz report literally says “Yes, all the factual events claimed by the right were true. We just ignored those facts and asked the peeps involved if they acted out of bias.”

          1. All of which was predictable based on Horowitz’ track record.

            https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2019/09/30/straight_shooter_justice_dept_watchdog_has_held_his_fire_on_the_top_brass_120565.html

            “I see a pattern of him pulling up short and trying to be a bit of a statesman instead of making the hard calls,” said Chris Swecker, a 24-year veteran of the FBI who served as assistant director of its criminal investigative division, where he oversaw public corruption cases.
            “I’m afraid he’s going to do the same thing with the FISA report – a finding that sounds tough, but in the end, ‘No harm, no foul,’ ”

          2. If it makes you feel better to ignore what Horowitz found in favor of your lurid fantasies, please go ahead. Back in the real world there was NEVER any conspiracy against Trump. The investigation started because a minor Trump adviser got drunk and bragged about the Russians having dirt on Clinton to an Australian diplomat. The special counsel investigation started because Trump fired the FBI head, then bragged “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” to the Russian Ambassador & Foreign Minister. The investigation was sustained because of the stupidity and sleaze of Trump, his family, and his hand-picked advisers. Examples? His son reacting with glee when told the Russian government wanted to aid his daddy’s campaign. His fixer secretly negotiating a massive business deal with Kremlin officials throughout the campaign. Trump lying repeatedly when asked specific questions about his Russian business dealings by the press. Trump’s campaign head giving private briefings to someone U.S. intelligence considered a Russian agent. Trump’s son-in-law asking to use the Russian’s secure communication equipment to evade U.S. monitoring. Trump’s NSA nominee lying about his Russian contacts, first to the Vice President, then to the FBI. All the doing of Trump or associates, not any jokey conspiracy

            1. grb
              December.9.2019 at 8:07 pm
              “…Back in the real world there was NEVER any conspiracy against Trump…”

              And I’m sure a fucking lefty ignoramus such as yourself thinks the legacy media was perfectly fair to Trump:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjvRJLUWwFs

            2. You still pimping this tired old fan fiction?

              It’s not September anymore, you need to get some new talking points from ShareBlue. Even your buddy DOL didn’t bother posting on this one.

        2. grb
          December.9.2019 at 6:28 pm
          “God above, but aren’t you guys spewing all kinds of frantic desperation?…”

          You tell ’em, shitstain:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjvRJLUWwFs

        3. GRB, if you didn’t have frantic desperation backed up with absurd lies, you would have nothing.

          It really is the cornerstone of your progtardery.

  24. “It’s OK to believe that Trump’s behavior was profoundly corrupt ”

    Glad you were able to work that sentence into the piece, Scott. Have to get your woke credibility out to your masters, I know.

    Piss off.

    1. I saw that sentence and I came here to say precisely the same thing.

  25. Imagine the FBI saying “But we weren’t being Islamophobic” after they were caught trying to frame Omar Mateen’s wife, who initialed a confession with no attorney present. It doesn’t matter if they weren’t politically biased, the broader argument from the other side is that Trump was unfairly targeted.

    We already knew the FBI was snooped on people. Reason says “Yep that’s the only takeaway”. Except this was a soft coup attempt – FBI agents spoke to each other about removing Trump and they knowingly presented false or incomplete evidence to obtain surveillance. It’s a politically motivated hit job, just as the BK saga was.

    Why is Reason unwilling to admit that Trump (an American citizen) was likely a victim of Government surveillance overreach? You have a problem with his policy or style of governance? There’s this thing called an election. To remove a president, someone better establish a real treason level crime, or the GOP in the senate has no incentive to vote for removal.

    1. Reason is all in for Team Blue
      They really don’t even try to hide it

  26. What we don’t know—and maybe will never know—is how frequently the FBI omits important information in other wiretap requests that involve Americans.

    That’s a shame for reasons of basic transparency and good governance.

    But it’s also a shame because it’s an important data point when judging whether this was politically motivated. If the FBI played faster and looser with someone related to the Trump campaign, that’s not necessarily definitive, but it is highly relevant. The same thing goes if this is par for the course.

    1. What’s disturbing is that Horowitz ignored the vast differences between how the FBI handled the HiLIARy campaign when investigating her misuse of classified documents and how they approached Trump’s.
      In her case the kid-gloves were apparent, maybe even doubled up through granting immunity to anyone associated with the operation, while the hard-stare was directed at anyone Trump had ever associated with.
      There is some discretion allowed, but such a discrepancy with how that discretion was exhibited shows that there was some kind of motivation.
      Judging by the political positions of the two principals, political bias seems the most obvious, even if hidden from the investigators.

  27. The Anti-Trump Leftist Cabal cold not trust honest, experienced and proven top notch investigators. So they had to task the investigations to Lick Spittle sycophants ie: “Useful idiots” like Strzok. Comey et al. And that is where it all falls apart. Contrary to leftist claims that anyone can do anyone’s job….it doesn’t happen., Handling complex detailed conspiratorial investigations where evidence needs to be fabricated…requires genius level investigators. Such investigators exist but would not compromise their Patriotic integrity for Socialism.

  28. Report Says FBI Snooping on Trump Campaign Aide Was Justified but Badly Mishandled

    Nothing quoted in the article supports the conclusion asserted that the report was justified or that the FBI was not guilty of political bias. I see elsewhere the quote given is that the IG was unable to prove bias but the answers he did receive were unsatisfactory. If these are the comments the Reason conclusion is based on their conclusion is logically unsupported. The logically supportable summary is that the IG was not able to determine whether bias was involved or the investigation justified.

    If not I’d like to see a quote for what they do consider support for their conclusion.

  29. How can the FBI not know Page was an intelligence asset?

    1. How can the FBI not know Page was an intelligence asset?

      They did, or at least had been told as much, repeatedly, by ‘another agency’ (almost certainly the CIA). They just chose not to report that particular detail to the FISA court.

      1. From what I’ve read, the odd’s of Page not having CIA involvement (either as someone being investigated by the CIA, or as someone possibly working for the CIA) approaches zero given his involvement with foreign agents of Russia and domestic law enforcement.

        Although also, from what I’ve read, Page was such a blithering idiot that the Russians weren’t even sure he was worth the effort.

        I suspect he’s exactly the kind of useful idiot your typical fresh-faced college graduate is, and he was taught his entire life that the United States was an ‘evil empire’. Honestly, his beliefs seem right in line with your typical modern soviet apologist. That Democrats seem to believe he’s a traitor says more about their ideological consistency than it really does about Page in my view.

        1. Page and the CIA both confirm he was a source from 08-13.

          Honestly, his beliefs seem right in line with your typical modern soviet apologist.

          Is it still the W Bush administration? Has the last decade + all been a dream?

          1. One doesn’t need to be a Soviet apologist to work with modern Russia.

            I’m referring to the young version of Carter Page, not necessarily the adult Carter Page of today. I acknowledge beliefs can change in the intervening time.

            How many of those reports, or what portion of those reports, are true isn’t something I can say but I have read that when he was younger he sounded exactly like every young college graduate that has an unfavorable view of capitalism.

            The guy was born in 1971, so he was 27ish in 1998. I know plenty of people in their late thirties that still believe what they did in college regarding ‘European Aggression’ so maybe Page still thinks the same way.

            I can imagine that being secretly investigated might make one wonder if there’s really a big difference between the U.S. and modern Russia though. I’m not him, so I can’t say and I doubt he ever will.

            1. NATO aggression post-USSR is pretty hard to deny… not that the entirety of US bipartisan propaganda isn’t directed to doing just that

              1. So, while your comment doesn’t relate to anything I’ve said I do find it interesting that ‘U.S. bipartisan propaganda’ over the past 8 or more years was ‘make nice with Russia because they’re good guys now’.

                And that was coming from the party that claims they are suddenly an existential threat again after eight years of claiming literally the opposite point of view. (I’m not counting Democrats claim that the Soviets weren’t so bad during the actual cold war.)

                Maybe one would be inclined to notice that the ‘propaganda’ isn’t as ‘bipartisan’ as you indicate.

                1. ‘U.S. bipartisan propaganda’ over the past 8 or more years was ‘make nice with Russia because they’re good guys now’.

                  And that was coming from the party that claims they are suddenly an existential threat again after eight years of claiming literally the opposite point of view.

                  Maybe one would be inclined to notice that the ‘propaganda’ isn’t as ‘bipartisan’ as you indicate.

                  Unbelievably naive. My instinct is to just say “forget it” but I have to know: where do you think all the pre-Trump anti-Russia propaganda (e.g. Pussy Riot) was coming from?

                2. The Obama admin/Global Socialist party thought Putin was fading after the Georgia dustup when he left office in 2009. They saw Medvedev as malleable, like Yeltsin was, and could be used to bump Putin aside so a return to pro-Putin exploitation could begin.
                  Hence the “reset” and brief limited “rehabilitation” of Russia’s image (though Russians saw increase as villains in movies starting in late 2000s) occurred.
                  But beginning in 2012, they began to realize Putin was still in control. So in 2013, Obama safely reelected, they began stirring up trouble in Ukraine and Russia itself. There color revolutionaries failed in Moscow but succeeded in Kiev. Then Putin checked them by reacting swiftly to secure Crimea. A quick victory denied and long stalemate on the horizon, focus was shifted to Syria.
                  Russia is very, very important to the deep state.
                  It would be weird if it was “just stupidity” behind so much effort directed toward Russia

                  1. *pre-Putin exploitation
                    F autocorrect

        2. Someone, who went to the Naval Academy isn’t “your typical fresh-faced college graduate”.

  30. Report Says FBI Snooping on Trump Campaign Aide Was Justified but Badly Mishandled

    Like with a cloth?

    1. What difference, at this point, does it make?

      1. We may never know their true motivations.

        1. Certainly no reasonable libertarian rag

  31. What a bunch of unbelievable fucking bullshit.

    You must think your readers are really, really stupid.

  32. At Reason‘s DC headquarters…
    KM-W: “OK, who wants the assignment to suck FBI cock”?

    Shackelford: *waving hands wildly*
    “Oooooh! Oooooh! Pick me! Pick me!”

  33. Remember way back a few months ago when Mueller was an unimpeachable lawman of the highest integrity?

    And now we know he’s senile and his entire two year investigation was fake and … nobody’s talking about it.

  34. This is exactly the kind of lazy msm reporting that is making it really difficult for me to support reason this webathon. I was just listening to the editors roundtable thinking I should go ahead and donate, and then I read this vox-worthy article. Smh.

    1. If you’re going to donate to political types, at least donate to true dissidents who don’t have billionaire backers.

  35. Mishandled?!

    The report says the FISA application was resubmitted four times with the same 17 factual errors and omissions–when it was known to be wrong–and it was approved by three different teams, going all the way up to the Director of the FBI.

    Mishandled is when you did the right thing for the wrong reasons.

    The report says none of this shit should have happened and recommends, “that the FBI review the performance of the employees who had responsibility for the preparation, Woods review, or approval of the FISA applications, as well as the managers and supervisors in the chain of command of the Carter Page investigation, including senior officials, and take any action deemed appropriate.”

    https://www.justice.gov/storage/120919-examination.pdf

  36. The war about to be waged in the courts and in the congress is going to be a tale to tell us if there will be a DNC after this election cycle and credibility for the left is becoming scarce….Horowitz opened the door for DOJ Barr and Durham to move up the pace of Identity, crime and consequence for a large number of party leaders and agency management, the coup will fail the price for trying to unseat a duly elected President for politic alone will be devastating for the left….You are looking at the Constitution of this Representative Republic giving this nation a chance to exist as America, a nation of laws, inalienable rights of, by and for the People…..It’s the reason the left wants to end this Document of freedom…

  37. For a decent evaluation on the report read Turley’s article in The Hill. The entire investigation was a fiasco and all Shackford can provide is the left wing cover up.

  38. Is lying on a FISA warrant request perjury?

    As someone who submitted affidavits and memos to a local court regularly in a previous job, I was always warned that I needed to double check the smallest details to make sure I wasn’t unintentionally lying, and the supervisor and attorney would question me if there was something that seemed off, or that I couldn’t definitively argue.
    Maybe there’s a different standard for Law Enforcement though…

  39. “Report Says FBI Snooping on Trump Campaign Aide Was Justified but Badly Mishandled”

    On further thought:
    This claim is true if and only if the snoops assumed Trump was a foreign agent. Period. There is no other condition which allows this to be true.
    If he were not under suspicion, the proper action is to warn him that there is a chance one or more of his staff is questionable and include Trump in furthering the investigation. This did not happen.
    So, now, please provide the evidence which suggested Trump was suspected of being a foreign agent, or admit to political bias.
    And an attempted coup d’etat.

  40. LOL!!! Is that what you got out of that?!?!?!? 🙂

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