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Report on DOJ and FBI conduct regarding FISA warrants to be released in weeks

Posted at 4:23 AM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 07:59:10-05

The Justice Department watchdog expects to release his findings on the department's and the FBI's adherence to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requirements during the 2016 campaign in a few weeks, on December 9, a source familiar with FISA investigation told CBS News.

Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz will also be testifying about the report before the Senate Judiciary Committee two days later, on December 11, he told committee Chairman Lindsey Graham in a letter Thursday.

CBS News has confirmed that Horowitz reviewed records — including notes and witness interviews — among other documents for evidence of edits and or other alterations.

Those findings have been forwarded to U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been asked by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the FBI probe into the Trump campaign. Durham's probe is now a criminal investigation.

CNN first reported these developments.

The report examines how faithfully the Justice Department and FBI adhered to the legal requirements in filing applications for surveillance warrants for "a certain U.S. person," Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Page lived and worked in Russia and traveled to Moscow in a personal capacity during the campaign, to deliver an address at the New Economic School in July 2016.

In 2018, the New York Times reported that the FBI, in its FISA application, had told the intelligence court that Page "has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government." The agency also told the court that "the FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government."

During the special counsel's investigation, Page submitted to multiple interviews with the FBI in 2017, before the appointment of the special counsel. Ultimately, the Mueller report did not find this to be the case, stating, "the investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election."

Horowitz told Graham that his office is "nearing completion" of necessary processes that must be carried out before the release of the report.

Republicans and allies of the president source have told CBS News that they plan to use the findings to "punch back" on impeachment, and they had hoped for an earlier release. The findings have been closely held and are largely unknown yet, so it's not certain that the findings will have the impact hoped for by the GOP.

The report is said by a source familiar with the investigation, to be about 500 pages long. Horowitz has said he expects the report to be released publicly" with few redactions."