WASHINGTON (AP) – The FBI had justification for initiating its investigation into the links between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russia, and did not act on political inclination, the Department of Justice's internal oversight body said Monday, undermining repeated claims from the president who is the subject of a "witch hunt".
The expected report rejected the theories and criticisms propagated by Trump and his supporters, although he also found "serious performance failures" in the chain of command, which Republicans cite as evidence that Trump was the target of an unfair investigation.
The affirmation of the legitimacy of the investigation, balanced by criticism of the way in which it was conducted, guaranteed that partisan disputes will persist around one of the most politically sensitive investigations in the history of the FBI. Another review of the origins of the investigation continues, and the prosecutor selected by the Secretary of Justice hinted on Monday that he will review the FBI's actions in more detail.RELATED
Monday's review by Inspector General Michael Horowitz dismissed several lines of attack on Russia's investigation, revealing that it was initiated properly and that security leaders had no political inclination. Contrary to the claims of Trump and other detractors, he noted that the opposition investigation compiled by a British ex-spy named Christopher Steele, was not a factor in the decision to initiate the investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane (Crossfire Hurricane). In addition, he rejected accusations that the FBI set a trap for a former Trump campaign advisor at the center of the investigation.
He revealed that the FBI had an “authorized purpose” at the time it began its investigation in July 2016 on whether Trump's campaign was coordinated with Russia to tip the elections in his favor. The report noted that the FBI had cause to investigate a possible national security threat.
FBI director Chris Wray highlighted in an interview with The Associated Press that the report found no political inclination, but that identified problems that are "unacceptable and do not represent what we are as an institution."
The FBI is implementing more than 40 measures with the objective of amending some of the agency's most important operations, such as the request for judicial orders for surveillance and interaction with confidential sources.
Associated Press journalists Mark Sherman, Alan Fram, Mary Clare Jalonick, Jonathan Lemire and Colleen Long contributed to this report.