In the aftermath of the release of a Department of Justice report about the handling of the Russia investigation by the FBI, Donald Trump has lashed out at the bureau’s director.
“I don’t know what report current director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading,” the president tweeted on Tuesday , “but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!
The report by the inspector general of the Department of Justice was released on Monday. It said there was no political bias in the origin and operation of the FBI’s investigation of Russian election interference and links between Trump and Moscow – a common charge by the president and his allies who allege a supposed “Deep State” conspiracy.
But inspector general Michael Horowitz did find “serious performance failures” in the monitoring of Carter Page, a Trump aide linked with Moscow. Horowitz found 17 “significant inaccuracies or omissions” in applications for a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance or Fisa court to monitor Page’s communications and subsequent warrant renewals.
Wray issued a statement on Monday in which he said he had “ordered more than 40 corrective steps to address the report’s recommendations”.
On Tuesday Trump had apparently been watching Fox News, whose concentration on the errors identified by Horowitz was part of partisan responses to the report which even included criticism from Bill Barr, Trump’s attorney general and the man in charge of the justice department.
“You have to look at the 17 instances of misconduct cited in the Report,” Trump wrote, “they are very bad. The Fisa court was clearly taken for a ride on this, a failure of the FBI up and fown [soc] the chain of command. It’s about as strong a medicine as I’ve seen in a report of this kind in a very long time.”
Wray also spoke to ABC on Monday, pushing back on the conspiracy theory that Ukraine intervened in the 2016 election, a line followed by Trump and his supporters as impeachment continues.
He said: “We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election.”
The president has fired an FBI director before – James Comey, in May 2017, perhaps the single most consequential act of his presidency prior to the impeachment inquiry. Wray was appointed to succeed Comey.
On Tuesday, Trump also took aim at familiar characters from the Russia investigation: “The FBI has had some dark day in its past, but nothing like this. This was VERY SERIOUS MISCONDUCT ON THE PART OF THE FBI.” … Are you listening Comey, McCabe, lovers Lisa & Peter, the beautiful Ohr family, Brennan, Clapper & many more?
Andrew McCabe is a former deputy director of the FBI, fired by Trump. The “beautiful Ohr family” are Bruce and Nellier Ohr, a justice department official and his wife, who worked with the political intelligence company Fusion GPS. John Brennan was director of the CIA under Barack Obama, James Clapper director of national intelligence.
The “lovers Lisa & Peter” are Lisa Page, a former FBI lawyer, and Peter Strzok, a former FBI agent, who had a relationship. Strzok was fired from the bureau in the fallout from the Comey firing..