Former FBI general counsel James Baker told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday night that President Trump should “apologize to me, to my colleagues” after Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report found no material evidence that the Russia probe was launched for political reasons, as repeatedly claimed by the president and Republicans.
“The conclusions are quite clear that the President’s statements over these past several years were all wrong,” Baker, appearing with former FBI former deputy director Andrew McCabe, said. “There was no hoax, there was no conspiracy to overthrow anybody, there was no sedition, there was no treason, there was no evidence of any of that.”
Former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker says President Trump ought to apologize to the FBI for his attacks on the organization after Trump’s own Justice Department’s inspector general found that the start of the Russia probe was justified. https://t.co/EAvEI4AKpn pic.twitter.com/jxeBVEsfgf
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) December 10, 2019
Baker and McCabe emphasized Horowitz’s finding that the investigation was properly predicated, but the inspector general also faulted the bureau for misleading the FISA court through 17 errors or omissions included in their application to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page.
Much of the report details how Baker, McCabe, and others relied heavily on the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele to obtain the FISA warrant without informing the court of the dossier’s partisan source (Steele was working for the Clinton-contracted Fusion GPS at the time) and without independently verifying the intelligence it contained.
In an interview with Horowitz’s office, Baker said he reviewed the first FISA application and was “satisfied at the time that there was probable cause articulated in the draft application to believe that Carter Page was an agent of a foreign power,” and pointed to “Page’s continuing relationships with Russian intelligence officers.”
In addition to omitting Steele’s financial relationship with the Clinton campaign from the FISA application, the bureau also neglected to tell the court that Page had served as a “operational contact” on Russia for the CIA from 2008 to 2013.
Baker also said he did not review any of the FISA renewal applications, which Horowitz found included an alteration from FBI Lawyer Kevin Clinesmith after the CIA told him in 2017 that Carter Page was working for them, which Clinesmith changed to state the opposite in order to submit the renewal.
Horowitz also expressed concern in the report over the lack of DOJ guidelines specifically pertaining to the surveillance of “individuals associated with a major party presidential campaign.”
Following the report, FBI Director Christopher Wray said he is issuing over 40 corrective measure to address the report.
“We are vested with significant authorities, and it is our obligation as public servants to ensure that these authorities are exercised with objectivity and integrity. Anything less falls short of the FBI’s duty to the American people,” Wray said in a statement.