Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe said Monday that the Justice Department inspector general has finished his investigation into whether the FBI abused the surveillance court system during its investigation of the Trump campaign. In an interview on Fox News, Ratcliffe said that he met last week with the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, to discuss the timing, but not the content, of the release of the report.
“He related that his team’s investigative work is complete,” said Ratcliffe, a Republican member of the House Intelligence and House Judiciary Committees.
“They are now in the process of drafting the report. I would expect that it will be a draft that will be completed in short order.”
Ratcliffe said that he does not expect that the report will be made public “any time real soon,” though he is hopeful it will be released before Congress breaks for its August recess.
“He did relate to that as much as 20 percent of his report is probably going to include classified information, so that draft report will have to undergo a classification review at the FBI and at the Department of Justice,” he said.
“So, while I am hopeful that we might see it before members of Congress recess for the August recess, I’m not too certain about that.”
Horowitz has been investigating whether the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in its applications for spy warrants against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.
The FBI relied heavily on the infamous and unverified Steele dossier in the applications for the warrants. Republicans have alleged that the bureau not only failed to verify the dossier’s allegations about Page, but that FBI officials failed to disclose to surveillance court judges that the Clinton campaign and DNC paid for the dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Horowitz is also reportedly looking into the FBI’s relationship with Steele. The dossier author reportedly agreed last month to meet with Horowitz, but it is unclear whether that meeting took place.
Ratcliffe will be on hand on July 17, when former Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify before both the House Intelligence and House Judiciary Committees.
Mueller’s report of the investigation poured cold water on the Steele dossier, which alleged a “well-developed conspiracy of co-ordination” between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
Ratcliffe is one of only a few lawmakers who has reviewed the four applications for Carter Page FISA warrants. The FBI obtained the first warrant on Oct. 21, 2016. Page has disputed the allegations against him in the dossier. He appeared before Mueller’s grand jury on Nov. 17, 2017, and was not accused of any crimes in the special counsel’s report.
By Chuck Ross
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