Accuracy in Media

No one has seen the report from the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz yet – it is due out next week.

But already the mainstream media says it exonerates the FBI of any wrongdoing with regard to its investigation of President Trump and dropping of investigations into wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton … and that Attorney General William Barr is playing politics by pointing out privately – no one is on the record about this – that Horowitz’ conclusions may not be complete.

“Barr Still Sides With Trump’s FBI Conspiracy Claims, Despite Independent Probe Indicating Otherwise,” wrote Slate on top of Elliot Hannon’s story.

“Barr Is Said to Doubt Inspector General’s Findings on Russia Inquiry” – subhead: “If the attorney general rebuts the finding that the FBI had sufficient cause to open the investigation, the president’s allies could use his skepticism to dismiss the entire report,” the New York Times wrote atop its story by Katie Benner and Michael S. Schmidt.

“Barr disputes key inspector general finding about FBI’s Russia investigation,” wrote the Washington Post on its story by Devlin Barrett and Karoun Demirjian.

The Daily Beast rewrote the Post story under the headline: “AG Bill Barr To Dispute DOJ Inspector General’s Finding That Russia Probe Was Justified,” and added a red stamp on the top of the copy that reads: “NOPE.”

The Post reports that Barr has told associates Horowitz does not have enough information to definitively conclude the counterintelligence investigation opened on Trump’s claim was adequately predicated and that information from the CIA and other agencies would alter Horowitz’ conclusions.

Slate recounts this, then says confidently “The FBI probe was triggered by then-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos comments that the Russians possessed hacked Hillary Clinton emails.” This notion is believed to be at the center of the investigation Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut are conducting into the origins of the investigation into the Trump campaign.

Papadopoulos has written a book that says this is not the case and that he was targeted by western intelligence services on behalf of the Obama CIA and that Durham’s investigation will shed further light on this.

Hannon of Slate writes that it doesn’t take much information for the FBI to open an investigation, as Lisa Page testified last year. But then he turns his focus to Barr.

“What we do know is that since  taking over at the DOJ, Barr has taken an expansive and permissive view of the president’s executive authority to do just about whatever he pleases and has also voiced skepticism of he rationale behind the FBI’s decision to open a probe into Russian approaches to the Trump campaign that ultimately led to the Mueller investigation and report,” Hannon wrote.

“It’s important to remember that the Trump World claim that everyone is biased against the president, and therefore nothing said against him is ever valid, is a foundational idea of the Trump presidency – and, more importantly, the Trump 2020 campaign. If there was no conspiracy, there is no justification to continue Barr’s personal push to investigate the investigators that has manifested itself in the simultaneous Durham investigation.

“The inspector general report, according to [the New York] Times is ‘expected to sharply criticize the FBI’s top leaders” but ultimately conclude that ‘the FBI violated no rules.’ That, however, is an unacceptable conclusion to Trump, who, more than ever, needs the Durham investigation to continue to make the FBI seem nefarious and all investigations unserious and untrustworthy.”

The New York Times told its readers the report “is expected to contradict some of the unfounded theories about the 2016 election that the president and his allies have promoted.”

It then attempted to cast doubt on Barr and the Durham investigation pre-emptively. “Mr. Barr’s doubts are significant because they could be perceived as the nation’s top law enforcement officer siding with Mr. Trump, who has long cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Russia investigation.”

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