Watchdog expected to say FBI's Russia probe free from political bias, but not errors

Tim O'Donnell

The Justice Department's internal watchdog report on the 2016 Russian election interference investigation is coming out in the next couple of weeks, and the early word is that it's a bit of a mixed bag, although the overall conclusion indicates that the investigation was handled properly and professionally.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to find that political bias did not hinder the FBI's investigation as President Trump and his supporters have argued, people familiar with the matter said. Trump has often made the case that many officials favored Hillary Clinton, which subsequently affected the outcome of the investigation. But there doesn't seem to be anything to that.

Still, as The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal point out, there are some elements of the report that will likely lead to more bickering between political factions.

Horowitz's report, which is expected to be released Dec. 9, did reportedly find that errors and lapses in judgment were made during the investigation. Most notably a "low-level" FBI lawyer reportedly inappropriately altered an email related to the surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser. There was reportedly a proper legal basis for the government's application to monitor the adviser in the first place, however, and the finding didn't change Horowitz's overall conclusion about the investigation.

Either way, a person familiar with the inspector general's investigation said "you can see how the warring factions will seize on the various parts of this to advance their respective narratives." In other words, this thing isn't over. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

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