Fact Check: Did the FBI Investigate Trump in Bad Faith?

Fact Check: Did the FBI Investigate Trump in Bad Faith?

The FBI report, weighing in at just under 500 pages, that Democrats have been waiting for regarding its Russia probe investigation has finally been released.

However, the report may not convey the message they think it does.

Attorney General William Barr openly commented on the report commissioned by FBI Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz. Barr claims that the entire investigation was rooted in a bad faith effort to demonize President Trump regarding “Russian collusion.” Furthermore, Barr stands by his assertion that the FBI was out of line by continuing to investigate this case.

“I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press. I think there were gross abuses… and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI… I think that leaves open the possibility that there was bad faith.”

-William Barr

So, is William Barr onto something? Let’s dig into the facts.

Highlights

  • IG Michael Horowitz reviewed over one million documents and conducted interviews with 100 individuals. His conclusion was that he “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open investigations into aides surrounding the Trump campaign.
  • However, the report outlined a number of errors it discovered during the course of this lengthy investigation. Barr asserts that the IG accepted the FBI’s explanation of these errors at face value.
  • The FBI used confidential informants that recorded the conversations of Trump campaign officials, which Barr asserts as proof that the FBI spied on Trump officials. Furthermore, he openly stated that presidential campaigns are frequently in contact with foreigners.
  • Former British spy Christopher Steele compiled a series of reports that the FBI used. It seems that much of the justification to investigate these specific individuals hinges on the Steele dossier, especially Carter Page.
  • The Steele dossier was shown to be an unreliable source of information at the time of the initial investigation. This means that the FBI conducted investigations into people on this list while knowing full well that the dossier was unreliable. By the time this issue was even addressed, the investigation had moved well beyond the scope of the Steele dossier.
  • Robert Mueller himself said that his investigation wasn’t able to establish any coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  • Once the investigation was underway, it was believed that, at times, the FBI emphasized information that made Trump look bad while downplaying info that showed him in a positive light.
  • Finally, the IG concluded his report with a pertinent suggestion: in future investigations of this nature, sensitive information regarding presidential campaigns should be supervised more closely by the Justice Department.

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