DOJ Inspector General Horowitz has reportedly shot down another GOP theory about the Russia probe

Peter Weber

President Trump said Tuesday that while he thinks next week's report on the FBI's Russia investigation by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will still have some "devastating" findings, he is really looking forward to the conclusions of a parallel investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham. Durham, selected and assisted by Attorney General William Barr in the broader investigation into the Russia investigation's origins, actually makes a cameo in Horowitz's report, The Washington Post reports, and not in a way likely to please either Barr or Trump.

Horowitz reportedly contacted Durham to ask if he had uncovered any evidence that Joseph Mifsud, a shadowy Maltese professor who told Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton, was secretly a Western intelligence asset. "Durham said he had no such evidence," the Post reports. "U.S. officials suspect that Mifsud has ties to Russian intelligence," but Papadopoulos has claimed "he believes Mifsud is some type of Western intelligence asset and that he was set up." U.S. intelligence agencies also reportedly told Horowitz he was not one of their assets.

Trump's allies have latched on to that theory as proof the Trump-Russia investigation was launched on false pretenses. According to reports from people who have read drafts of Horowitz's report, he concluded that the FBI had adequate cause to launch its investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, though he also uncovered some irregularities in the FBI's applications for surveillance warrants. CBS News reports that the issue he focused on was whether the FBI withheld exculpatory information when renewing those warrants.

The Post also includes some caveats in its report on Misfud, including that Horowitz's report is still in draft form, the newspaper hasn't reviewed the draft report, and it's "unclear whether Durham has shared the entirety of his findings and evidence with the inspector general or merely answered a specific question."

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