The long-awaited report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on potential surveillance abuses by intelligence officials during the 2016 Russia investigation is still in the declassification process, a DOJ official told Fox News on Wednesday.
“The FBI and the DOJ are working together smoothly on the declassification process,” the official said.
In comments to reporters at the White House on Thursday, President Trump — he retains the authority to declassify and release as much of the report as he wants — speculated that the final report could even implicate former President Barack Obama.
“Now, we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “The IG report is going to come out soon, and we’ll see what happens. I think people — I know nothing about it, in terms of the report. … I’m waiting for the report like everybody else. But I predict you will see things that you don’t even believe, the level of corruption — whether it’s [James] Comey; whether it’s [Peter] Strzok and his lover, [Lisa] Page; whether it’s so many other people — [Andrew] McCabe; whether it’s President Obama himself. Let’s see whether or not it’s President Obama. Let’s see whether or not they put that in.”
On Monday, former Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, now a Fox News contributor, told “Hannity” that bureaucratic squabbling was the reason the report isn’t already available.
“Evidently, there’s an intra-agency debate and really a food fight if you will about the classification issues,” Chaffetz said. “Remember in the last report put out by Horowitz, there were only seven words or so that were redacted. The Democrats threw a fit that they couldn’t see the whole thing. This could have 10 to 20 percent of the report redacted.”
Chaffetz speculated that Obama administration Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and ex-CIA Director John Brennan could be behind the apparent delay.
That was a reference to Horowitz’s bombshell initial report last year, which identified misconduct by senior FBI officials, including Strzok and Page, who exchanged anti-Trump text messages while investigating his campaign.
Last month Horowitz told lawmakers his team had nearly completed his review and submitted a draft to Attorney General William Barr.
“We have now begun the process of finalizing our report by providing a draft of our factual findings to the department and the FBI for classification determination and marking,” Horowitz wrote last month to several House and Senate committees. “This step is consistent with our process for reports such as this one that involve classified material.”
The declassification process is one of the final steps before public release.
Horowitz and his investigators have probed how the infamous and salacious anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was used to secure the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant for former Trump aide Carter Page in October 2016, as well as three renewals.
Horowitz’s team has looked into why the FBI may have regarded Steele — funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC) — a credible source, and why the bureau used news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility before the FISA court.
Horowitz’s probe is not the only ongoing review at the DOJ. U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe into possible misconduct by the intelligence community at the outset of the Russia investigation has expanded in scope recently, based on Durham’s initial findings, Fox News reported earlier this month.
Durham, known as a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor, according to a source, has been focusing on the period before Nov. 7, 2016 — including the use and assignments of FBI informants, as well as alleged improper issuance of FISA warrants. Durham was asked to help Barr “ensure that intelligence collection activities by the U.S. government related to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign were lawful and appropriate.”