Speed Reads

this is big

Russia probe contained no evidence of political bias, inspector general finds

The FBI's Russia investigation had no basis in political bias, despite Republicans' claims, the Justice Department's inspector general has concluded.

The DOJ's inspector general released its report on the origins of the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties with Russia on Monday after investigating whether it was based in bias against President Trump. It concluded that while the investigation did make "significant errors" in some aspects of the investigation, the inspector general found no evidence that it was opened under "political bias or improper motivation."

Trump and his allies have claimed the Russia investigation was a "witch hunt" from its beginnings and that it was based on the controversial Steele dossier, but the investigation found no evidence the dossier played a role. Instead, while acknowledging that the DOJ and FBI had established a "low threshold" for opening this sort of investigation, the report concluded the FBI had enough information to satisfy that barrier. Republicans' claims that then-FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok opened the investigation under his own bias were also rebutted, as the inspector general found Strozk's supervisor had actually given the go ahead "after multiple days of discussions and meetings" with Strozk and others.

Still, there were "serious performance failures" in how investigators filed all four of their Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications, which allowed them to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the report found. This sparked a new IG investigation into how FISA warrants are obtained. The IG also alleged some document tampering by an FBI lawyer, and recommended an overhaul of presidential campaign investigation guidelines.

Attorney General William Barr unsurprisingly said the report "makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions," and that the "evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory." Find the whole report here.