The Justice Department inspector general has uncovered evidence that an FBI lawyer might have altered a document related to a court’s approval of a request to surveil a Trump campaign adviser in 2016, the Washington Post reported.
However DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that the alteration did not have an impact on the validity of the surveillance application, U.S. officials familiar with the matter told the Post.
The finding is included in a draft of Horowitz’s report on his review of the FBI’s Russia investigation. The report will be made public Dec. 9, and the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing on the report Dec. 11. CNN was first to report on this finding.
The FBI employee was a low-level lawyer in the Office of General Counsel. He reportedly told the Justice Department that he had documents to bolster a claim he made in the application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz found that the lawyer actually did not have the documentation he needed and then altered an email to cover it up, the Post reported.
The employee was forced out of the FBI after the mistake and coverup was identified, according to the Post.
In his report Horowitz will say that the alteration did not affect the validity of the application and the document had a “proper legal and factual basis,” in the Post’s words.
It’s a detail that’s inconvenient to Trump allies. And while the Post initially reported that the FBI employee being investigated worked for former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, a hated figure in Trump world, the Post later corrected its report to state that the lawyer in question was “a low-level lawyer in the Office of General Counsel and did not report to the deputy assistant director.”
Nonetheless, Trump already claimed victory and vindication during a lengthy interview with Fox News on Friday morning.
“Former FBI Employee Accused of Altering FISA Documents.” Hello, here we go! @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2019