Ben Wittes of Lawfare outlines some questions in advance of the Monday’s release of the IG report on the Russia investigation. Advance reports indicate exoneration.


(1) It is important to remember the big questions and allegations that make Mr. Horowitz’s investigation important: The President has publicly alleged a treasonous conspiracy at the FBI to spy on his campaign and take him down. He has alleged the bureau was engaged in a coup. 
The attorney general has lent support to the notion that the FBI has lied about when and how the investigation began. The GOP leadership of the House Intelligence Committee has suggested that a FISA warrant was procured improperly. The key question therefore: is any of this true? 
(2) A particularly interesting question is what Horowitz will say about the notion that there is some important connection between the @petestrzok@NatSecLisa texts and the conduct of the investigation. Horowitz has already been sharply critical of the texts.
But Trump world regards them as reflecting something deeper than the private exchange of views between career officials by officials who should have known better than to use government IT for such exchanges. It regards them as evidence of a political conspiracy.
Trump himself talks endlessly about the texts and the so-called “insurance policy” conspiracy they reveal. So here’s the question: Knowing that Horowitz thinks the texts wildly improper, does he lend any support to such notions?
(3) It has been widely reported that Horowitz has found a number of mistakes and errors at the ground level of the investigation. To what extent, if at all, do these errors reflect people acting politically and to what extent are they simply careless screw-ups?
If you do a forensic after-action report on any complex investigation, after all, you are going to find errors. Are the problems Horowitz finds this sort of error? Or do they suggest some larger problem? Or somewhere in between?
(4) This question is particularly important with respect to reports that Horowitz has found that an FBI lawyer altered a document–a matter he has apparently referred for criminal investigation. Does this matter have any kind of political valence or is it one person’s misconduct?
(5) What does Horowitz have to say about the propriety of relying on information from Christopher Steele?
(6) What does Horowitz have to say about whether the investigation was properly predicated–and when it began?
(7) What does Horowitz have to say about whether the investigation was, in fact, looking at Trump or his campaign as an entity?
(8) And what specifically does Horowitz say about the following people: each of whom has been accused of all manner of things by the President and his supporters:
mentions , Andrew McCabe, @thejimbaker@NatSecLisa@petestrzok, Bruce Ohr?
These are the questions I will be asking when I read the document on Monday.

  • December 8, 2019
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