The decade's most triggering comedy
The report regarding the origins of the investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election is not the slam dunk the media is claiming.
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, certainly no fan of Trump, took the media to task for its portrayal of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report into how the FBI began its surveillance of the Trump campaign.
“If the report released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz constitutes a ‘clearing’ of the FBI, never clear me of anything,” Taibbi wrote in an article published on Tuesday. “Holy God, what a clown show the Trump-Russia investigation was.”
The press, Taibbi wrote, has been focusing on Horowitz’s conclusion that “political bias or improper motivation” was not the cause of the numerous errors in the FBI’s investigation. Basically, Taibbi wrote, Horowitz blamed incompetence for the errors instead of corruption:
However, Horowitz describes at great length an FBI whose “serious” procedural problems and omissions of “significant information” in pursuit of surveillance authority all fell in the direction of expanding the unprecedented investigation of a presidential candidate (later, a president).
Officials on the “Crossfire Hurricane” Trump-Russia investigators went to extraordinary, almost comical lengths to seek surveillance authority of figures like Trump aide Carter Page. In one episode, an FBI attorney inserted the words “not a source” in an email he’d received from another government agency. This disguised the fact that Page had been an informant for that agency, and had dutifully told the government in real time about being approached by Russian intelligence. The attorney then passed on the email to an FBI supervisory special agent, who signed a FISA warrant application on Page that held those Russian contacts against Page, without disclosing his informant role.
Taibbi goes on to list how “the Horowitz report show years of breathless headlines were wrong.”
For example, many members of left-wing media outlets reported that the dossier compiled by ex-British Intelligence official Christopher Steele didn’t play much of a role in obtaining FISA warrants against one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The Horowitz report, however, makes it clear that this dossier “played a central and essential role” in obtaining the FISA warrant.
Media outlets also derided what has come to be known as the “Nunes memo,” which was sent about by then-House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA). Instead, the outlets favored a competing memo from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). As Taibbi points out, Horowitz’s report “ratifies the major claims” from Nunes’ memo, including that the Steele Dossier was essential to obtaining the FISA warrant and that Steele was the source for a Yahoo News article that the FBI previously claimed merely confirmed the dossier.
Finally, the Horowitz report confirmed that the Steele dossier was little more than “Internet rumor,” there was no corroboration for his claims, and Steele embellished much of what was in his report. For example, left-wing media outlets wrote numerous headlines about an alleged “pee tape” the Russians could use to blackmail Trump. In reality, Horowitz found, was based on a “conversation” one of Steele’s sources “had over beers,” and the allegations were made in “jest.”
Never forget the years of reporting on this topic from left-wing media outlets and Trump’s opponents, Some of these outlets even received Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting, which has been utterly eviscerated by Horowitz’s report.