Politics

Grassley Suspects ‘Deep State’ Is Responsible For Delay In FISA Abuse Report

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley expressed frustration Monday at a months long delay in the release of the Justice Department Inspector General’s report on possible FBI surveillance abuse against the Trump campaign, questioning whether the “deep state” has somehow slowed the release of the document.

“All of the delays and excuses why the Horowitz IG FISA report isn’t public yet after several months of anticipation of its issues leads me to the suspicion it’s going to be ‘deep six’ by the deep state,” Grassley wrote on Twitter.

Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, began in March 2018 investigating whether the FBI complied with legal requirements in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The bureau relied heavily on the unverified Steele dossier in applications for the warrants, as well as for the main investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, dug up dirt on the Trump campaign on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign. In the dossier, he alleged that Trump aides, including Page, worked with Kremlin operatives to influence the 2016 election. Steele also claimed that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of coordination” between the Trump team and Russians.

But the special counsel’s report undercut much of the dossier. It said there was insufficient evidence to establish a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

The OIG report was initially expected to be released in June, but has been steadily delayed amid new developments, including an interview that same month with Steele. (RELATED: The FISA Abuse Report Is Coming Out Soon. Here’s What To Know About It)

Horowitz told several congressional committees on June 25 that the investigation was nearing completion. He submitted the report to the Justice Department and FBI for a declassification review on Sept. 13.

Fox News reported in October that disagreements between the FBI and Justice Department about redactions in the report have delayed the release of the document.

Grassley has been one of only a handful of Senate Republicans to push for answers from the FBI and Justice Department about the Steele dossier and other surveillance against the Trump campaign. He was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee until earlier this year, when he took over as head of the Senate Finance Committee.

Horowitz’s office has not responded to recent requests for comment about the status of the report.

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