The Justice Department Inspector General found evidence “that an FBI lawyer manipulated a key investigative document related to the FBI’s secretive surveillance” of former Trump aide, Carter Page, according to Fox News.
The outlet reports that the edit was “enough to change the substantive meaning of the document.”
The revelation represents the first in what is expected to be a parade of details from the report, which is due out in full next week, according to sources within the Justice Department. Attorney General William Barr alluded to the report early last week, telling media that Inspector General Michael Horowitz had completed his investigation, authored his report, and spoken with officials named in the report in order to clear the way for publication.
The full report, which will hit shelves on December 9th, is also expected to demonstrate a number of irregularities with the FBI’s investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign, and, subsequently, the Trump transition team, coordinated with Russian officials to first alter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and then install an information and communication pipeline between the Kremlin and President Trump in the West Wing.
In House Intelligence Committee hearings last year – commanded by Republicans who were then in charge – witnesses revealed that the FBI and DOJ relied on a now-discredited dossier on Donald Trump, authored by foreign agent Christopher Steele, to obtain permission to wiretap key Trump transition officials through the FISA courts.
Then Attorney General Jeff Sessions commanded the Inspector General undertake an investigation into the incident, and, it seems, Horowitz found at least some evidence of FBI malfeasance.
“Horowitz reportedly found that the FBI employee was involved enough in the FISA process to falsely state that he had ‘documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis’ for the FISA warrant application,” according to Fox News, quoting the Washington Post. “Then, the FBI employee allegedly ‘altered an email’ to substantiate his inaccurate version of events. The employee has since been forced out of the bureau.”
Neither the Post nor Fox News identified the official, and both suggested the report doesn’t identify him either, but Fox News says, the Post initially reported that the “person under scrutiny…worked beneath former deputy assistant director Peter Strzok,” the FBI agent whose clear bias against Trump tainted the investigation.
The Post, Fox News reports, later removed that tidbit for unknown reasons.
Horowitz’s report has very specific boundaries, and will cover only the FISA application and the events leading up to the FBI’s pursuit of warrantless wiretaps against a handful of specific Trump transition aides, but it is expected to come in handy for investigators, led by U.S. Attorney John Durham, looking into “Justice Department misconduct in the run-up to the 2016 election through the spring of 2017” – a much wider probe.
Durham is specifically looking into whether multiple investigations into the Trump transition team and the fledgling Trump Administration – specifically investigations into whether President Donald Trump and his team were in the pocket of the Russians — were politically motivated.
That investigation is said to be producing shocking results, potentially enough for a criminal probe.