For several months now, the American people have been anxiously awaiting the release of a final report by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Inspector General (IG), Michael Horowitz, about alleged misconduct by FBI and DOJ officials in 2016 with regard to then-candidate Donald Trump and members of his campaign team.
That long-awaited report, which has been rumored to be near completion since the spring, is now said to be on the verge of release by the end of the month. According to The Washington Post, Attorney General William “Bill” Barr hopes the report will be out by Thanksgiving.
A Thanksgiving deadline
According to multiple anonymous sources, there had been a target date for release set as soon as Nov. 20, but due to the reported complexity and voluminous content of the report — as well as contentious battles among some over how much of it can be declassified for public release — the timeline has been pushed back again.
The report by Horowitz is largely focused on how and why the FBI and Justice Department opened an investigation in 2016 into the Trump campaign over alleged collusion with Russia, with particular attention paid to alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain warrants to spy on the campaign.
Given that much of the information reviewed by Horowitz in this investigation is classified — and he lacks the authority to declassify that material — his team is reportedly working closely on finalizing the report with Barr, who does have the authority to declassify as much of that material as deemed necessary.
The matter of declassification has almost certainly been the primary reason for the interminably delayed release of the report, as such things take time and close scrutiny. Republicans in Congress, as well as the president’s supporters, have been calling for a rapid release of the report, but they are also pushing for that report to be largely declassified and unredacted for the public, which has presented a conflict in goals.
Another potential holdup in the release of the report is that a number of key figures likely to be named and/or implicated have told the Post that they have yet to receive for review the relevant portions of the draft report for them to dispute or correct inaccuracies, an important part of the process. Settling such disputes in the review process could add another week or two to the timeline for release.
A report “nearing completion”
Still, one signal that a release of the report is finally drawing near is the fact that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was scheduled to meet with Barr on Wednesday to discuss how and when the report would be publicly released.
It is worth noting that both Horowitz and the Justice Department declined to provide comment to questions about the timing of the release.
However, Horowitz did reveal in a letter to Congress in October that the process of declassification was “nearing completion.” He wrote that his goal was “to make as much of our report public as possible. I anticipate that the final report will be released publicly with few redactions,” he said.
It is thought by many congressional Republicans and Trump supporters that Horowitz’s report will reveal corruption by the FBI — and provide a framework ahead of the release of a related investigative report by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been looking into potential criminal wrongdoing by FBI and DOJ officials during the investigation of Trump.
Hopefully, the review process for Horowitz’s report truly is “nearing completion” and will be released by the end of this month. The incessant delays over the past several months have certainly grown tiresome.