By Matt London | Fox News
Former Whitewater Independent Counsel Robert Ray said he was “aghast to learn how little involved the [Obama administration] attorney general and the deputy attorney general of the United States” were in the FBI investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
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Ray said that is the most stunning revelation from the Justice Department Inspector General’s review of FBI conduct at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign.
“I think Michael Horowitz was surprised to learn,” said Ray on Fox Nation’s “Deep Dive” on Tuesday, “and I cannot believe that there is an investigation that would take you inside a presidential campaign and four people who were targeted within that campaign and that doesn’t require some kind of supervisory review and initiation beyond simply the inner-reaches of the FBI.”
The IG report examined the process by which the Obama administration’s FBI launched investigations into four Trump associates. The FBI targets included former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
“The information about a FISA application went to — at least — the chief of staff to the attorney general of the United States and apparently there was no follow-up,” said Ray, remarking on the findings of Horowitz’s nearly two-year investigation. “The information also traveled, obviously, to the deputy attorney general that there was going to be a FISA review.
“That’s Loretta Lynch, who was the attorney general currently serving then — and Sally Yates, who is the deputy attorney general. And [Yates] was actually in the approval process with regard to the first FISA application [on Carter Page].”
President Trump fired then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates in January 2017 after she refused to defend Trump’s executive order restricting immigrants and refugees from several terror hot spots, including Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
Former assistant U.S. attorney, Andrew McCarthy said that the report reveals a “big process problem” and acknowledges that the FBI must reform the procedures for supervising investigations of this magnitude. However, he argued that there was an even more disturbing conclusion.
“I think the thing that’s going to be shocking to people is [FBI officials] keep going back to the court repeatedly and they keep getting exculpatory evidence,” said McCarthy, in reference to information that the FBI was collecting that contradicted their suspicions about the Trump associates
“This is the Justice Department equivalent in the military context of mission creep,” added Ray. “In other words, once you become wedded to a course of conduct, ‘Don’t bother me with conflicting, exculpatory facts… we’re going to take ourselves inside the Trump campaign whether there’s hell to pay or not, because for national security reasons we need to get to the bottom of this.'”
“Which is why I say,” concluded Ray, “I do not understand for the life of me — whatever the department’s existing procedures were — something as sensitive as this should have warranted the personal direct involvement and supervision of the attorney general, the deputy attorney general of the United States and that did not happen here.”