By Tuesday, December 10th, the week’s national political news was already too much to grasp. On Monday, December 9th, the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, released the 436-page report “Review of Four FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation.”
“Crossfire Hurricane” was the FBI investigation opened during the 2016 presidential campaign into whether people in Donald Trump’s campaign were “coordinating, wittingly or unwittingly, with the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
Crossfire Hurricane concluded that there was no collusion.
But that wasn’t all. The report also concluded that there were “instances in which certain FBI personnel at times during the 2016-2017 period reviewed by the OJG, did not comply with existing policies, neglected to exercise appropriate diligence, or otherwise failed to meet the standard of conduct that the FBI expects of its employees — and that our country expects of the FBI.”
There were so many instances of failed FBI process that, in his written response to the IG report, FBI Director Christopher Wray said he “ordered more than 40 corrective steps to address the Report’s recommendations.” Clearly, a lot of missteps were made during the Russian investigation.
In response to the report, Attorney General William P. Barr stated on Monday, “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.”
After the launch of the FBI’s Russian investigation, Barr said, “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.”
In an opposite take, The New York Times covered the release with a headline that read, “Report on F.B.I. Russia Inquiry Finds Serious Errors but Debunks Anti-Trump Plot,” written by Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman and Katie Benner.
My bet is Barr is correct.
Keep in mind that Barr has opened a second inquiry into the Russian investigation, which U.S. Attorney John Durham is overseeing as a potentially criminal investigation. This gives him subpoena power and the ability to call a grand jury.
“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,” Durham said in a statement.
There is more to come when the criminal investigation is finished. But let’s now pivot to the news that came out on the 10th. That’s when the Democrats, who have been wrong on Russian collusion, took President Trump to task for something else.
The Democrats in the House of Representatives released two articles of impeachment against Trump. The first article focuses on abuse of power and the second on obstruction of justice. The articles focus on Trump and Ukraine.
The first article claims that Trump conducted “a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his re-election, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.”
The second article claims, “Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives” during their impeachment proceedings.
These articles were passed by Congress on Wednesday, December 18th.
They now will be tried in the Republican-controlled Senate, where they are expected to fail.
Let’s just say for these charges: Read the transcript of the call and not opinion news.
The same day the House filed the articles of impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced that the House would pass Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This is a big win for Trump.
While some claimed this gave Trump a victory and overshadowed the impeachment proceedings, others claimed this proved the Democrats could carry out the nation’s business while also filing articles of impeachment.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough for you, keep in mind that there is still a chance that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will join the 2020 presidential campaign — which would just make 2020 even wilder. Just imagine how that would lead to ongoing questions about Jeffrey Epstein, his activities and his death.
With the economy roaring, and many people tuning out the never-ending soap opera in Washington, D.C., Trump is poised to win the 2020 election, whether Clinton runs or not. Thank goodness we have less than a year to go until the next election.