"Although it took two years, the truth is finally out", said the former high-ranking official dismissed by Donald Trump in May 2017. House Intelligence Chair Rep. Adam Schiff of California says Trump abused his power over foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into undertaking investigations that would help Trump's campaign and hurt former Vice President Joe Biden's.
Monday's review by Inspector General Michael Horowitz knocked down multiple lines of attack against the Russian Federation investigation, finding that it was properly opened and that law enforcement leaders were not motivated by political bias.
John Durham, the USA attorney leading the internal Justice Department probe, said he did not agree with the inspector general's conclusion about the legal basis of opening the investigation.
In the interview, Comey reiterated numerous points he made in an op-ed for The Washington Post earlier Monday, and said he regrets how much Trump was able to set the tone for the interview's release - even convincing Comey's mother-in-law he was going to jail.
"We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed".
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the inspector general had "completely demolished" some of conservatives' assertions about the origins of the probe, though his investigators did find some problems.
Text messages revealed Strzok and Page, who both went on to join Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into Russian election interference, had suggested using a briefing with members of Trump's team after his 2016 victory to gather information on them, according to Fox News. They've said they had an obligation to investigate contacts some people associated with Trump's campaign had with Russians. Barr put a different spin on the report's findings. The AP has not viewed a copy of the document.
Politicians on either side of the aisle made clear the report wouldn't change their positions on the issue.
But Democrats cite a lengthy footnote in the initial application that informed a judge on the secret court that Steele was hired by politically motivated people hoping to use it to discredit Trump's campaign.
"There was never has been any evidence of collusion and this campaign and the president's administration has been dominated by this investigation into what turns out to be completely baseless", he added.
Page was never charged and has denied any wrongdoing.
Horowitz is scheduled to discuss his findings Wednesday during a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A person familiar with the Steele's work for Fusion GPS in 2016 said that the former British intelligence officer told his American clients about his friendship with Ivanka Trump, and they agreed not to discuss it outside their small circle as his work proceeded. The bureau renewed the warrant three times, surveilling Page for a total of twelve months.
Republicans have long criticized the process since the Federal Bureau of Investigation relied in part on opposition research from Steele, whose work was financed by Democrats and the Clinton campaign, and that fact was not disclosed to the judges who approved the warrant.
In pursuing the warrant, the Justice Department referred to Steele as "reliable" from previous dealings with him.
Barr's latest comments were widely criticized and renewed allegations that he was acting as the president's personal attorney instead of the top law enforcement official in the country.
"The Inspector General report outlined an alarming abuse of the FISA process", Second District Congressman Brad Wenstrup told The Highland County Press. He later raised concerns that a general counterintelligence briefing was used as an operation to gather information on the campaign, which was confirmed in the IG report.
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