Schiff accused top Justice Department officials of pandering to the President
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff claims that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was roped into a plan to protect President Donald Trump, preparing the groundwork to undermine the government watchdog’s work ahead of the FISA abuse report.
Schiff accused top Justice Department officials of pandering to the President by prompting a “fast track” report about former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe last year.
Schiff’s comments come amid attorney General William Barr’s review of the origins of the Russia investigation.
Schiff claimed that Trump wanted McCabe investigated and his pension removed, before suggesting that someone such as former Attorney General Rod Rosenstein assisted HIM by making the referral.
“The inspector general found that McCabe was untruthful. He may very well have been untruthful,” Schiff said.
The California Democrats then noted it was not where his principal concern originates.
“I have no reason to question the inspector general’s conclusion, but that investigation was put on a fast track. It was separated from a broader inspector general investigation, which is still ongoing,” he said.
“Why was that done? It was done so he could be fired to not get a pension. It was done to please the president when the initiation investigation is tainted. So are the results of that investigation.”
McCabe was fired after the Justice Department’s Office determined he misled investigators his role in leaking information to the Wall Street Journal on the Clinton Foundation investigation.
The Justice Department inspector general referred its findings to the U.S. attorney’s office for possible criminal charges.
McCabe argued that his firing was an attempt to discredit the FBI and Mueller‘s investigation into Russian interference.
Schiff said the inquiry into McCabe happened “because the president wanted it politically.”
He added, “Once you go down that road, it leads to disaster.”
According to The Washington Examiner: Horowitz is nearing the end of another investigation that Trump and his associates are keenly anticipating.
The inspector general declared his investigation into whether the FBI and Justice Department filing of four FISA applications and renewals to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was an abuse of the FISA process in March 2018, following requests by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and members of Congress.
According to House Judiciary Committee ranking member, Doug Collins said he expects the inspector general’s report could be published this fall after some setbacks.
This matters because now that Mueller’s task is complete, Barr’s “investigation into the investigators” is initiated, and the attorney general has said he is working very closely with Horowitz.
The inspector general can approve prosecutions, and U.S. Attorney John Durham, whom Barr tasked to direct the review, can convene a grand jury and subpoena people outside of the government.
Beyond that, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, has promised a “deep dive” into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation after Horowitz completes his work.
Wary of the churning cycle of investigations, Schiff tied Horowitz to Barr, saying:
“This is tainted from the start because it is motivated for a political end and the damage it will do in terms of a chilling impact is of deep concern, um, the damage it will do in terms of trying to cast doubt on things that are not in doubt.”
The question an audience member asked Schiff focused on whether he was concerned about how Durham’s team reportedly wanted to talk to at least one senior CIA counterintelligence official and a senior CIA analyst who examined Russia’s part in interfering in the 2016 election.
He said the inquiries that question:
“Well substantiated conclusions to essentially politicize the intelligence process and tell analysts that the work will be scrutinized with a political perspective if it runs contrary to the desires of the president. That’s a terrible, terrible precedent.”