A few days ago John Ratcliffe was saying, Look, it doesn't take 500 pages (the reported length of the report) to say nobody did anything wrong. We've had other conservatives claiming that there will be indictments. And today President Trump said the report will be "historic," the "greatest scandal in history."
Now comes the NYT, to tell us that a low level (former) FBI lawyer is in trouble, but Strzok and Comey and the rest of the gang are gonna skate. That has led to despair in some circles. For example at TGP we read:
The Deep State is leaking and spinning ahead of Michael Horowitz’s much-anticipated report on FISA abuses which is set to be released shortly.
According to leaks from the New York Times, Horowitz’s report will not condemn former FBI Director James Comey or former counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok.
Rather, a low-level FBI lawyer named Kevin Clinesmith is facing criminal charges for ‘altering an email’ related to the Carter Page FISA documents.
Recall, Kevin Clinesmith was one of several FBI lawyers who was previously referred for investigation by the DOJ IG for sending anti-Trump text messages over official FBI phones.
Mueller fired Clinesmith for his anti-Trump text messages.
Interestingly, it's sundance at CTH who's telling conservatives to just chill. And along the way he provides interesting new details about Clinesmith's email altering activities.
I come down on sundance's side of this--as he says, I think the report will be more than what the NYT is spinning. Sundance begins with a programmatic passage (italicized portions are from the NYT article):
[…] More broadly, Mr. Horowitz’s report, to be made public on Dec. 9, portrays the overall effort to seek the wiretap order and its renewals as sloppy and unprofessional, according to the people familiar with it. He will also sharply criticize as careless one of the F.B.I. case agents in New York handling the matter, they said.
In my opinion, the report is going to be much more than that. Why? Because they didn’t just get a ‘wiretap’, they got a Title-1 FISA authorized surveillance warrant; the most extensive and intrusive form of surveillance warrant possible. A Title-1 warrant allows any and all surveillance. Wiretaps, bugs, electronic surveillance, physical surveillance, the works. A Title-1 warrant is used against suspected terrorists in the U.S.
[…] In particular, while Mr. Horowitz criticizes F.B.I. leadership for its handling of the highly fraught Russia investigation in some ways, he made no finding of politically biased actions by top officials Mr. Trump has vilified like the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey; Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy who temporarily ran the bureau after the president fired Mr. Comey in 2017; and Peter Strzok, a former top counterintelligence agent.
Notice the contradiction and the parsing: ““… Some ways? So there are findings of bias, just not in all ways. Notice how they repeat a needed narrative tone, yet simultaneously contradicting their lead paragraph.
Again, take this stuff with the proverbial grain of salt. This is the “small group” selling their narrative through their media allies. They are trying to make an argument that they are simultaneously undermining. That’s what happens in the narrative engineering process.
This entire NYT article is fraught with the intent to be obtuse.
[…] The early accounts of the report suggest that it is likely to stoke the debate over the investigation without definitively resolving it, by offering both sides different conclusions they can point to as vindication for their rival worldviews.
[…] The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court first approved wiretapping Mr. Page, who had close ties to Russia, as a suspected unregistered agent of a foreign power in October 2016, after he had left the campaign.
The Justice Department obtained three renewal orders. The paperwork associated with the renewal applications contained information that should have been left out, and vice versa, the people briefed on the draft report said.
“and vice versa”, meaning there was information that should have been included. Yes, that would be the exculpatory information…. the absence therein speaks to the motive of assembly.That's a very important point. And the next one is fascinating to me, because it involves "another federal agency". What agency would that be?
Wait, the article just said, including the lead paragraph, Horowitz found no evidence of political bias?
No-one in conservative critic circles said Mifsud was an “FBI informant.” The concern is whether he is a CIA, or Western Intelligence, operative…. not FBI.
You can continue reading the NYT article here. The bottom line is there is going to be much more than presented in these weak defenses and media constructs.Here's the bottom line. Barr and Durham are not bound by this report. Horowitz at OIG is constricted as to how he conducts his investigations, but Durham has all tools at his disposal.