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Director Wray Defends FBI While Barr, Durham Attack IG Report

In the wake of the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the origins of the Russia investigation and FISA applications released yesterday, FBI Director Christopher Wray is pointing out that the Horowitz report showed that the investigation showed “appropriate predication and authorization.” However, Attorney General Barr and federal prosecutor John Durham attacked the agency and called the inspector general’s findings into question.

In both an interview with ABC News and a written response, Wray admitted that the actions described in the report were “unacceptable and unrepresentative of who we are as an institution,” but stressed that “the inspector general found that, in this particular instance, the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization.”

“In my view, every error and omission is significant and it’s something we need to take seriously,” Wray said.

In the report, the inspector general team wrote that they “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation” was a factor in opening the investigation or subsequent FISA surveillance applications.

Also in the interview, Wray contradicted the Republican narrative on Ukraine, telling ABC News, “We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election.”

“There’s all kinds of people saying all kinds of things out there,” Wray added. “I think it’s important for the American people to be thoughtful consumers of information and to think about the sources for it.”

Wray said that accusations of a Deep State conspiracy by President Trump, Barr and others were “a disservice to the men and women who work at the FBI who I think tackle their jobs with professionalism, with rigor, with objectivity, with courage. So that’s not a term I would ever use to describe our work force and I think it’s an affront to them.”

However, the attorney general attacked the findings of the inspector general in a written statement, saying, “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.” Barr’s statement does admit that “most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials.”

John Durham, a US attorney chosen by Barr to head the criminal investigation of DOJ handling of the investigations, told CNN, “I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff.”

“However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department,” Durham added. “Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. 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 did not say what additional evidence his investigation had yielded. There was also no word on who was the source of Durham’s evidence.

Durham’s protestations notwithstanding, the public evidence at this point suggests that there was and is no Deep State conspiracy. Horowitz plainly says in the report that the investigations had probable cause, even considering the missteps by the FBI, which he attributed largely to a lack of oversight. As Barr notes, most of the FBI employees who were to blame for the errors are no longer employed by the Bureau.

Barring evidence to the contrary, Americans should celebrate the Horowitz findings. Sloppiness and failure to follow safeguards are easier problems to fix than the systemic corruption that President Trump and his supporters have alleged for the past three years.

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