No, The Main Take-Away From Horowitz Was Not Debunking A “Conspiracy Theory”

I have a column out today on the Horowitz report in the Hill newspaper. As has become a common practice, the report was immediately and grotesquely misrepresented. On CNN, the takeaway was that the Inspector General “Debunks Trump conspiracy theory.” Chris Cillizza stated “That sound you just heard is the air coming out of the Trump conspiracy balloon.” It is all perfectly bizarre as are the attacks on both Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham for their disagreement on that one finding.

I have two initial caveats. First, I would have preferred that Durham had not gone public with his view. He has an ongoing investigation and does not belong in this public debate.

Second, what I am about to say should not be construed as elevating this threshold determination. It was not the critical finding of the report which is breathtaking in its findings of false and falsified information by the FBI. The standard for the predicate only requires an articulable basis to trigger a largely discretionary act to open an investigation. The more important issue is the FISA application since that requires sworn demonstration of proof to the standard of the statute. That was clearly not met in my view and Horowitz offers chilling evidence on that point.

That said, I understand the objection from Barr and Durham. I also understand why Horowitz reached his decision. From Horowitz’ perspective, the standard is so low that it is impossible to declare it wrong absent clear evidence of bias. The standard only requires an articulable basis to trigger a largely discretionary act to open an investigation. Nevertheless, I think that are reasons to question the opening of four investigations into the campaign of the opposing party. Indeed, if this were a Democratic campaign put under Republican investigation on these grounds, there would be calls for massive hearings today from every editorial page and Democratic office.

The Justice Department has always maintained a rule that it should use the “least intrusive means” in such investigations. Instead, the Justice Department unleashed undercover agents, confidential sources, and secret surveillance. It went straight to DefCon 1.

However, Horowitz focused on the discretionary element and concluded that at the outset no clear political bias was shown. That tenor changes later in the report as Horowitz notes the removal of exculpatory lines from the FISA application and the use of known false information, including the failure to inform the FISA court that Carter Page was actually working as an asset for the CIA.

In fact there were clearly key players who have already been found to have been biased and were fired from the FBI. Horowitz reports that they played key roles, including McCabe directly agents to the Steele Dossier after they found no probable cause for a FISA application. Horowitz found that a document was falsified to remove exculpatory information and other such lines were removed but no one — no one — would say who removed them. Horowitz also says that actions of the FBI still have not been explained in keeping the investigation going despite overwhelming exculpatory evidence that the Russian collusion allegation was untrue.

This gets back to my growing concern over the state of media analysis. This is a deeply troubling report and shows that the Russian collusion allegations were poorly founded and quickly debunked by the FBI. That is not being fully reported because it does not fit a narrative that has taken hold of the media. That is a major story in its own right.

50 thoughts on “No, The Main Take-Away From Horowitz Was Not Debunking A “Conspiracy Theory””

  1. The media misrepresented the Horowitz report because it is propaganda, not news. They are actively crafting information to be given to prospective voters in 2020. Whoever controls the information, controls the people. You know what we want you to know.

    Why don’t we Americans demand better?

  2. So, Jon, are you saying that all of the things found by Mueller, based on hundreds of interviews and depositions and thousands of pages of documents are untrue? Are you trying to claim that Russians didn’t interfere with the 2016 election with the active assistance of the Trump campaign? No, you can’t do that, because what he found is the truth. How was Mueller supposed to fully investigate the depth and extent of Russian meddling and Trump’s personal involvement when Trump refused to testify? You also left out the fact that Trump’s written responses to interrogatories, drafted by Giuliani, were lies. Mueller was never able to fully got to the bottom of what happened in 2016 because Trump blocked him at every turn, just like he’s blocking the impeachment investigation. If Trump did nothing wrong, then why, why, why, won’t he cooperate?

    Horowitz did establish that the Trump campaign was not spied on and that the Steele Dossier was not the impetus for the Mueller investigation. Since Barr doesn’t like that, because it proves, once again, that Trump is a liar and it takes away Fox News talking points, he won’t accept the findings. THAT is the story you should comment on. How many millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to try to clean the manure off the pig known as Trump? One other tidbit worth mentioning: Christopher Steele is a friend of Ivanka Trump.

    This is just another Republican pivot to criticize the process rather than the product, because the product proves Trump’s unfitness for office.

    1. pathetic that somebody who claims she went to law school acts dumb questions like
      “if he did nothing wrong why wont he cooperate”

      they explain that the first day of crim pro

      you’re just spewing more bogus nonsense like you puke forth every day here out of the computer orifice

    2. You obviously did not read Jonathan Turley’s writings, nor the IG report.
      Try to read both, and see if you can put your own bias aside to comprehend what was said.

    3. Why do you misrepresent what was in the Horowitz report?

      Why do you make the false statement that Republicans only criticize the process and not the product? Obviously, it has been discussed at length that there was no evidence of Trump conditioning aid to a Biden investigation. All the witnesses were just using hearsay and their own supposition. The content of both reports have been discussed at length.

      Your constant carping on the existence of Fox is frankly irrational. Once again, you make false statements, claiming that we watch Fox non stop, or misrepresenting facts as a Fox fabrication.

      If you’re a lawyer-nurse, then why do you consider Trump using the courts as a remedy blocking anything? Why do you wonder why he wouldn’t cooperate with an impeachment that denies him due process, the right to call the witnesses he wants, the right to question witnesses, etc?

      There is so much animosity and untruth blaring from your keyboard.

  3. “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

    – Lisa Page to her paramour, Peter Strzok

    “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

    – Lisa Page

    “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

    – Peter Strzok

  4. Deja Vu:

    – The Warren Commission

    – The Warren Report

    – The Greatest Fraud and Whitewash in Human History

    The Deep Deep State wins again.

  5. Just how bad was the FBI’s Russia FISA? 51 violations and 9 false statements

    DECEMBER 9, 2019

    To understand just how shoddy the FBI’s work was in securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant targeting the Trump campaign, you only need to read an obscure attachment to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report.

    Appendix 1 identifies the total violations by the FBI of the so-called Woods Procedures, the process by which the bureau verifies information and assures the FISA court its evidence is true.

    The Appendix identifies a total of 51 Woods procedure violations from the FISA application the FBI submitted to the court authorizing surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page starting in October 2016.

    A whopping nine of those violations fell into the category called: “Supporting document shows that the factual assertion is

    For those who don’t speak IG parlance, it means the FBI made nine false assertions to the FISA court. In short, what the bureau said was contradicted by the evidence in its official file.

    To put that in perspective, former Trump aides Mike Flynn and George Papadopoulos were convicted of making single false statements to the bureau. One went to jail already, and the other awaits sentencing.

    The FBI made nine false statements to the court.

    And the appendix shows the FBI made another nine factual assertions that did not match the supporting evidence in the file. In another words, the bureau was misleading on nine other occasions.

    The vast majority of remaining Woods violations — 33 in total — involved failing to provide any evidence in the Woods procedure backing up assertion in the FISA warrant application.

    That’s serious too since the sole purpose of the Wood procedures is to ensure all evidence cited in a FISA application is documented as accurate and reliable so it can be trusted by the courts.

  6. The report is over 450 pages, which means NOT A SINGLE person has yet read it all the through! The summary alone reveals that AG Barr was right, the Obama Admin was spying on the Trump Campaign – then on the new administration. Something else also jumped out at me, there WAS foreign meddling in the election – BY AUSTRALIA! The FFG referred to is an Australian diplomat. He claimed to have been told by Papadopoulos that Russia had Clinton’s missing Emails and was going to release them. By going to the State Department, the FFG meddled in the US election to benefit the Clinton campaign. I’ve felt for some time that the FBI needs to be torn apart and rebuilt on a much smaller scale. Bear in mind that it was originally established during a Congressional recess. They claim they are “independent” but the Constitution does not allow for “independent” Federal agencies. They are part of the DOJ which is, in turn, a part of the Executive Branch and answerable to the one person with sole executive power, the president.

  7. Durham spoke out because the IG can only work with government employees. Durham has a clearer view, since many of the guilty have quit or been fired.

  8. The ACLU used to be a civil rights organization. Has it commented on this corruption and abuse of power?

    Why does anybody think the abuse that happened here is a one off? Isn’t it more likely it is commonplace in the whole secret FISA process?

    If the two parties can put country ahead of party this one time, they need to create a bi-partisan commission to institute reforms to clean this whole FISA process up. I doubt they can do it. All they seem capable of is lying, grandstanding and jockeying for power.

    1. supported in large part by Soros they have become the ACLU
      – the Anti Civil Liberties Union.

  9. …absent clear evidence of bias.

    Funny. How does one show evidence of bias in the “practice” of law? Is there a blood test for that? Perhaps there is a urine test to detect evidence of bias. What is the composition of bias: metabolites, tissue biopsies with clear margins, or specific biomarkers? Perhaps there is a radiology test or another diagnostic test to show “evidence”?

    Be thankful physicians don’t diagnose medical maladies the way IG attorneys diagnose coup d’etat. You call your profession legit huh?

    Too bad there are no Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, recently authored memoirs by fired DOJ, or video recordings of CIA leaders showing evidence of bias. Imagine that. Those might have persuaded Horowitz to write something other than his coup de grâce on America’s Justice system.

  10. Very interesting analysis, Sir. I bring to you attention that Mueller did not “find” evidence of Russian collusion because he was denied access to key players in a timely manner. Evidence has surfaced involving Flynn, Manafort and Stone that may warrant consideration for your reasoning, “…despite overwhelming exculpatory evidence that the Russian collusion allegation was untrue.”

    1. Impeachment is the fruit of a poisoned tree. As the OIG Report acknowledges, Carter Page was a CIA “operational contact.” Had he not been infiltrated into the Trump Campaign by his Agency handlers, there would have been no legal cause for commencing of an FBI investigation.

      Furthermore, there would have been no Russiagate as we knew it without Carter Page and fabrications about him inserted in the Steele Memo. In view of FBI omission of material, exculpatory evidence from the FISA warrant applications, added to the outright falsification of these facts about Page by DOJ, all evidence gathered pursuant to the Carter Page line of investigation must be excluded.

      When one considers that the Carter Page “evidence” also taints the case brought against Manafort, and that the case for an FBI investigation of the Trump Campaign for alleged collusion was largely based in the activities of one or more CIA agents provocateur, the Russia collusion case for Impeachment is poisoned apples.

      1. Collusion is still not and never has been a crime added to fruit of the poisoned tree but but but remember this phase is not being run by decent Constitutionalist Citizens but by those who if they took the oath of office lied four times taking it. They don’t follow the Constitution nor does their Collective.

  11. Dr. T – The absolute fealty of the American press to the Democrat party should be chilling and disturbing to all Americans. Thank you for starting to recognize and call out the massive attempts of the Press to distort every news event and issue to aid/abet the Democrats political message. One should never have to say “there would be calls for massive hearings today from every editorial page” and the issue is “not being fully reported because it does not fit a narrative that has taken hold of the media.” However, some of us have been saying that for years, if not decades. It’s time for actual liberals and anyone with any intellectual capacity to start denouncing it.

    1. When our military is put to work upholding their oath of office they are not confined to a few politicians.

  12. Horowitz report is another concerning example how democrats and their operatives in our government are abusing power .. this man refused to put down in record what the FBI and DOJ did in the coup .. he’s worst than them when Durham ends the investigation and convenes the Grand jury results….

      1. i’m still betting on Huma Gotcha Abedin not wanting to be an also ran when the States evidence opportunities role and she was referred to the AG as one that needed investigating and then charges filed. No way Clinton wasn’t in on this and if Clinton was in on it Huma Gotcha knew and knows about it.

  13. “The more important issue is the FISA application since that requires sworn demonstration of proof to the standard of the statute. That was clearly not met in my view and Horowitz offers chilling evidence on that point.”
    Given his limited parameters of an internal investigation, I think Horowitz did a good job of exposing FBI intrusions in to privacy in violation of their own policies. Heads will roll administartively and in contempt proceeding before FISA court judges.

    Durham has the power of subpoena before the grand jury and indictments. Horowitz’s report is just a road map. Durham has the battle plan.

    1. Yep, waiting with bated breath to figure out what next bombshell they will drop – just like we were about this report. Barr better set up a follow up investigation just in case. Nutjobs never learn.

    2. Durham seems formidable. But w/ that goatee I would never want to watch him eat. Particularly soup.

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