Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., on Monday downplayed leaked reports that said the Justice Department’s inspector general’s probe into the start of the FBI’s Russia investigation determined that there was enough information to justify the agency’s probe into members of the Trump campaign.
Meadows was asked about a report in the Washington Post that said Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report justified the FBI’s action at the time. The New York Times, citing two unnamed sources, reported that the findings are expected to contradict some of the theories that President Trump has mentioned.
The former chairman of the House’s Freedom Caucus said that all the reports are “based on speculation on information which has been leaked.”
“There is little doubt in my mind that it will not be one the FBI’s finest days when the report is released,” he said. “No one other than Horowitz and his team knows what’s in the report and they have left no stone unturned.”
The reports, if true, would be seen as a potential setback for President Trump, who has insisted that the FBI’s investigation was a witch hunt from the beginning and a blatant attempt by Democrats to overthrow his presidency.
Horowitz, who has not commented on the over year-and-a-half investigation, told Congress in a letter last month that he intended to make as much of the report public as possible, with minimal redactions. The report is due next week.
A key question examined by Horowitz has been the FBI’s application for a secret warrant to monitor Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
The Justice Department and the FBI obtained warrants in 2016 to monitor Page. Page told Fox News earlier this month he was “frustrated” he had not been interviewed in Horowitz’s probe.
The warrant was renewed multiple times by judges, but Republican critics have decried the fact that the FBI relied in part in its application on uncorroborated information obtained by Christopher Steele, a former British spy who had been paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to conduct opposition research.
The government did disclose to the court the political loyalties of the people who hired Steele, according to Democrats on the House intelligence committee who released their own memo last year aimed at countering Republican allegations of law enforcement misconduct.
Horowitz provided a draft copy to Attorney General William Barr in September, and the Justice Department has since been conducting a classification review.
The Post, citing unnamed sources, reported that Barr disagrees with the report’s conclusion. He reportedly questioned whether or not the CIA, or other agencies hold information that could change the inspector general’s conclusion.
Barr has praised Horowitz in the past and called him “fiercely independent.”
“Inspector General Horowitz is a fiercely independent investigator, a superb investigator who I think has conducted this particular investigation in the most professional way, and I think his work, when it does come out, will be a credit to the department,” Barr said earlier this month.
The Justice Department told Fox News in a statement that “uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters.”
Trump has tweeted about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and told “Fox & Friends” earlier this month that “what they have coming out is historic.”