Fox: Upcoming Horowitz report will show why Durham probe has turned into a criminal investigation; Update: Clapper questions the timing

Great, but … when will the Horowitz report actually show up? Yesterday, the Inspector General sent a letter to Congress alerting Capitol Hill that his reporting process on the probe of the FBI’s actions in Operation Crossfire Hurricane was “nearing completion.” Michael Horowitz explained that he is waiting for some final determinations on classification, but doesn’t anticipate the need for multiple versions of the report:


Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz told Senate and House lawmakers Thursday that the process of finalizing his report into potential Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses ahead of the 2016 presidential election was “nearing completion,” according to a letter obtained by Fox News.

The “lengthy” draft report “concerns sensitive national security and law enforcement matters,” Horowitz wrote in the letter, adding that he anticipated “the final report will be released publicly with few redactions.” …

“After we receive the final classification markings from the Department and the FBI, we will then proceed with our usual process for preparing a final report, including ensuring that appropriate reviews occur for accuracy and comment purposes,” Horowitz wrote in the letter. “Once begun, we do not anticipate the time for that review to be lengthy.”

That still sounds as though the publication of the report is a few weeks off, at least. Earlier, sources had thought that Horowitz would be able to publish as early as last month, and certainly before Thanksgiving. That would have put it ahead of Democrats’ attempts to impeach Donald Trump, although the grounds for that action have shifted almost entirely away from the Russiagate probe that Horowitz is investigating.

That timing might complicate the White House’s ability to push back against impeachment, but it’s not slowing down the expansion of the probe. In fact, Fox News reported last night, Horowitz’ report will explain why US Attorney John Durham has transformed his review into a full-fledged criminal investigation:


U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing probe into potential FBI and Justice Department misconduct in the run-up to the 2016 election through the spring of 2017 has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation, two sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News on Thursday night.

One source added that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s upcoming report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign will shed light on why Durham’s probe has become a criminal inquiry. Horowitz announced on Thursday his report would be available to the public soon, with “few” redactions.

The investigation’s new status means Durham can subpoena witnesses, file charges, and impanel fact-finding grand juries.

The rest of the Fox report mainly regurgitates what’s already been known about the issues surrounding both investigations. Last night, however, some chatter erupted that Durham and Horowitz might have taken a keen interest in how the case against Michael Flynn developed. Flynn’s new attorneys filed motions to dismiss Flynn’s earlier guilty plea and the case itself over alleged FBI misconduct that only recently came to the defense’s attention. Sidney Powell accused the FBI of cooking the Flynn interview records to create a false obstruction case:


If that’s what triggered Durham and got flagged by Horowitz, it would tend to corroborate earlier reporting that both had expanded the scope of their probes into 2017. The part about former DNI James Clapper leaking to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius would also be very, very interesting — if actually corroborated by evidence. Filings in court do not necessarily mean evidentiary support, a point to keep in mind at all times, but something seems to have captured the attention of both investigators. And this might not be all of the catalyst for the Durham decision, or even a major part of it. We just won’t know until we read the Horowitz report … whenever that happens.

Criminal probes are quite the rage these days at the DoJ, however, and not just those targeting the president’s opponents. Politico reports that the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has become at least a subject, if not a target, of a DoJ criminal probe. That could make his presence around Trump even more awkward than it already is:


His responsibilities are shrinking as Donald Trump’s TV-friendly personal attorney. His efforts to dig up dirt on the president’s political opponents have landed his highest-profile client in a congressional impeachment investigation. And two of his foreign-born business associates are headed to trial on charges that are part of a broader effort by federal prosecutors eyeing Giuliani himself.

The scrutiny isn’t just coming from the previously known probes by FBI agents and the U.S. attorney’s office based out of Manhattan, according to two people familiar with the investigation. The criminal division of the Justice Department in Washington has taken an interest in the former New York mayor, too, meaning an expansion of resources that indicates the politically sensitive probe into the president’s personal attorney is both broader and moving at a faster pace than previously understood. …

“He appears to be a subject, if not a target of an active investigation. So to have him be a part of the legal team would be troublesome to say the least,” said Greg Brower, who served as the FBI’s top liaison to Congress until 2018. “At best, it’s a messy situation and more likely it’s just completely dysfunctional.”

If that’s the case, then how long can Giuliani continue as Trump’s attorney? Granted, this might be a ploy to separate them, but (a) Trump’s got enough resources to hire an entire fleet of white-shoe attorneys to look after his interests, and (b) Giuliani has been a trainwreck for Trump anyway. Trump should have cut Giuliani loose months ago, a move which might have allowed the White House to distance itself from Giuliani’s Ukraine meddling and the political damage it did. It’s too late for that kind of pawn sacrifice now, but there seems to be little to know value in keeping Giuliani so close to Trump now.


Update: James Clapper only found out about the criminal probe last night while he was on the air with Anderson Cooper, and he seems pretty flummoxed by it. Other than questioning the timing, the former DNI doesn’t have much to say:

He did seem a bit nervous, no? Given Clapper’s long record of honest and forthright public service, what has he got to be nervous about?

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