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Prosecutor in criminal review of alleged surveillance abuses against Trump team sparks new intrigue

By Rachel Brooks

Contributor  | Telegraph Local 

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Dir. Wray pictured with Jeff Sessions in 2017

The complex saga of impeachment wears on. Sparks of intrigue fly over the prosecution as new alleged surveillance of the Trump team emerges. Attorney General William Barr is quoted by Justice.gov as stating, “Nothing is more important than the credibility and integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice. This is why we must hold our investigators and our prosecutors to the highest ethical and professional standards…” 

A.G. Barr was addressing the FISA report on December 9, 2019. The Inspector General report has found evidence of “clear abuse of the FISA process”. He calls the details of the Inspector General report “a malfeasance and misfeasance” created by “former” officials of the FBI. He also describes that the Inspector General was greatly displeased by these missteps and critical errors made by some personnel in this case. 

This isn’t to say that he disparaged the entire Bureau for this IG report. He had this to say of the Inspector General’s investigation:

“The Inspector General’s investigation has provided critical transparency and accountability, and his work is a credit to the Department of Justice. I would like to thank the Inspector General and his team.” 

What we can infer from this is that there was a breach in conduct for some personnel, but that FBI and the DOJ have nevertheless been working together on this case to produce a logical outcome.

A.G. Barr then stated that no one was more dismayed by the misuse of this FISA process than Director Wray. Barr said, “I have full confidence in Director Wray and his team at the FBI, as well as thousands of dedicated line agents who work tirelessly to protect our country.” 

Yet, with all this confidence, A.G. Barr also has some criticism: 

“In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source.” 

Trump’s response to Director Wray for backing the findings of the Inspector General report was, citing NBC, to “blast” the FBI Director. Trump had appointed Director Wray to replace former Director Comey. His Tweet’s followed up with statements that the 2016 election probe was a “witch hunt” despite findings that the report was not biased albeit erroneous. 

Director Wray was quoted by NBC as having “ordered more than 40 corrective steps to address the report’s recommendations”. Wray also spoke with ABC News and stated that he had no evidence that the Trump campaign was unfairly targeted on the basis of political motivation. 

He also put some fears to rest. Those of Ukraine’s interference. Speaking with ABC News, he stated: “We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered.” Claims that Ukraine interfered were adding confusion to the record. Senator Ted Cruz was quoted as saying, “Here’s the game the media is playing. Because Russia interfered, the media pretends that nobody else did. Ukraine blatantly interfered in our election.” 

Yet, these claims have not been backed by the investigation. So, if Ukraine has meddled in American politics, it was not in regards to the 2016 election campaign. This information merely muddies the water of attempting due process with the impeachment investigation. 

Director Wray urges the American people to be mindful of their media consumption and to develop appropriate media literacy. Many of these inflammatory accusations made by legacy press contribute to the potential of malign foreign influence. Dir. Wray noted that many foreign actors, including China and Iran, have interests in influencing the democratic nature of our Republic, as quoted by ABC News. 

This is a developing story. Please always check government-issued transcripts of court sessions and documents. In this case, you can find them via Justice.gov. 

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