For years now, President Donald Trump has claimed that the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election was a concentrated effort from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to undermine his campaign and subsequent presidency.
Now, the highly-anticipated review of the investigation's origins from Inspector General for the Justice Department Michael Horowitz—released Monday—has effectively debunked Trump and his allies' claims.
One of the most notable findings is that the infamous Steele Dossier—information regarding Trump and Russia compiled by British intelligence official Christopher Steele—did not play a role in the decision to open the Russia investigation. In fact, the investigation was already open when the FBI received information from the dossier. This flies in the face of Trump and his supporters' claims that Steele was working for Democrats and that the Russia investigation stemmed from Democratic opposition research.
In fact, it turns out that Trump's daughter and advisor, Ivanka Trump, was friends with Steele, communicating with him intermittently from 2007 to 2015. Steele even gifted Ivanka with a tartan from her grandmother's native Scotland.
Another revelation relates to FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, dubbed "the lovers" by Trump's Twitter feed. According to Trump, texts between Strzok and Page discussing an "insurance policy" were evidence that they began the investigation out of dismay for the 2016 election results.
When Lisa Page, the lover of Peter Strzok, talks about being “crushed”, and how innocent she is, ask her to read Pe… https://t.co/UtXqn6GE4Q— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1575310064.0
This is one of the most horrible abuses of all. Those texts between gaga lovers would have told the whole story. Il… https://t.co/HDIw6kmC1w— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1563020451.0
I am on Air Force One flying to NATO and hear reports that the FBI lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page are getting c… https://t.co/LIi8L9inPo— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1531233612.0
However, the review found that Lisa Page had no input in the decision to begin the investigation. While Strzok was among those charged with making the decision, he wasn't the sole or the highest-level official to support the determination.
So, while the report does determine that the FBI made careless mistakes in commencing the investigation, the verdict found that political bias and animosity for Donald Trump didn't play a factor in the decision to investigate Russian election meddling.
Nevertheless, both Trump and Attorney General William Barr claim the findings support assertions that the investigation was corrupt from the start, with Trump calling it "far worse than [he] would've ever thought possible."
Trump: "The IG report just came out and I was just briefed on it and it's a disgrace what's happened with respect t… https://t.co/OA3YontMKe— The Hill (@The Hill) 1575925746.0
Barr concurred, saying:
"The inspector general's report now makes clear that the F.B.I. 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."
Barr's primary objections were with the application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) grant to surveil Trump's foreign policy advisor Carter Page. The report did find that the FBI omitted several important details in its applications for these warrants, but didn't find evidence that it pursued FISA grants for Trump officials other than Page, contradicting prior Trump claims.
People were flummoxed at Trump's assertion that the report proved him right.
The IG report confirmed all of Trump's core claims were wrong. There was no political bias and the launch of the… https://t.co/jCy4ou01Eu— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1575922424.0
This is the exact opposite of what the report says. But Trump doesn’t care because he knows he can get away with it… https://t.co/Gl9BOCkSNf— Mehdi Hasan (@Mehdi Hasan) 1575923417.0
Trump and the Republicans are waging war on the idea of objective truth and they are winning. https://t.co/thjKhQvTvO— Dan Pfeiffer (@Dan Pfeiffer) 1575924102.0
So the current occupant of the White House just lied to America about what is in the IG report. Here is my advice… https://t.co/fl1i5ZNYgA— Fred Guttenberg (@Fred Guttenberg) 1575922569.0
I know this will come as a huge surprise but everything Trump is saying here is the complete opposite of reality. https://t.co/AxWa5JRkxU— Zack Hunt (@Zack Hunt) 1575923814.0
You can read the report here.